Irish Examiner view: Investing in a fairer society for Ireland after the pandemic

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We did not have a lot of time to prepare for the pandemic but we can — and should — take time to prepare for the reopening of society, now that the restrictions are being eased.

That is a reason to celebrate but it is not a reason to throw caution to the wind. It will still be necessary to continue adhering to the public health guidelines.

The one, perhaps, positive outcome of the pandemic over the past 15 months or so is that it has given us time to pause and reflect and consider what is most important to us as individuals and as a society. 

The late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher once declared haughtily that “there is no such thing as society”; the point she was trying to make was that people should not always look to government for help.

In any event, she was wrong because the cohesive bond of shared interests is what forms a society. 

The question is what kind of society do we want in a post-pandemic world. 

It must be one that treats the vulnerable and marginalised more fairly; that makes services such as health and education accessible to all. 

It must also allow equality of opportunity to make a decent living. The problem is that in Ireland even in the 21st century, there are huge disparities.

We have spent billions of euro on the fight against this deadly virus. 

We should be prepared to make the same level of investment in health, housing, and childcare to make the future brighter for us all.