The candles do create a certain seductive charm, if only there was someone to seduce. Forty eight hours on, I remain painfully in thrall to the perils of living in an all electric house.
No heat, no light, no cooker, no fridge, no shower, no TV and most isolatingly of all, no router. I feel as if I’ve been catapulted back into the 1880s.
Structurally we’ve come through pretty unscathed. It was in the city where the most totemic events occurred – the gymnasium roof of Douglas Community School, or the Derrynane Stand at Turners Cross pitch.
Most gut wrenching was the twenty four trees felled at Centre Park Road. This particularly Cork boulevard, set in an industrial part of the city, will take a generation to regain its former glory.
There was some surprise that severe flooding didn’t accompany yet another extreme weather event. Some relief that threatened pieces of infrastructure survived the experience.
The beloved ‘Shakey’ suspension bridge shook and shook, yet remained above, and perpendicular to, the River Lee. Another win for Victorian engineering.
This time little anger is found alongside the shock of these events. There is a relief, and a sense of gratitude, that those entrusted with seeking to lessen the anticipated damage, have performed spectacularly well.
For this we can be thankful for the army of committed public servants, who seem to have ticked all the right boxes when it has come to public safety.
Some will claim this week’s events as a political success. They shouldn’t. Successive and ongoing governments have responsibility to provide sufficient resources to our emergency services. This particular responsibility has often been missed.
Emergency planning is an activity that demands expertise, both in the devising and implementation of plans. Given the transitory nature of their positions, politicians often lack such expertise. Politicians don’t initiate nor do they co-ordinate emergency plans.
At best politicians become communicators, an interface with the general public. With Storm Ophelia even this role has been rolled back on. Dedicated experts have been performing, helping to instill greater levels of public confidence.
While political credit shouldn’t be accepted, very often political criticism cannot be avoided. Former Labour Party leader (and Fine Gael TD) Michael O’Leary, would forever after bristle at earning the sobriquet ‘The Minister for Snow’ in 1981.
In 2009 then Green Party leader, John Gormley, saw all his Fianna Fáil cabinet colleagues run to the hills rather than be associated with the serious flooding of that year. Then Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey, had to be embarrassed into returning early from a foreign holiday.
Previous experience, especially previous bad experience, has helped inform later disaster planning. This time around we seem to have got it more right than wrong.
Here’s to the next hurricane.