Another year over

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When you look back, you have to try hard to be optimistic. The year began with Charlie Hebdo and ended with another dreadful attack in Paris.

When you look back, you have to try hard to be optimistic. The year began with Charlie Hebdo and ended with another dreadful attack in Paris.

Destruction and death continued in other countries throughout the year. They don’t get a mention very often: the papers have to make room for stars of sport and television.

The arms industry is doing very well, thank you. This little neutral country of ours sold €81 million of military equipment this year. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Columbia were among the customers.

We witnessed the on-going destruction in Syria. Thousands fled from that country and from other countries in the Middle East and Africa. Around 3,000 died trying to reach Europe in overcrowded boats. Thousands tried to get to England through the Tunnel.

To crown it all, the storms arrived. When the media first mentioned global warming, many people thought that we would not have to go abroad any more to get the sun: the Irish climate would be like the Mediterranean, there would be skyscrapers, flats and hotels all the way from Malin Head to Kinsale. But the weather is now upside down and Ireland is wetter than ever.

Storms are not a new phenomenon in Ireland, of course. During the Night of the Great Wind, 70,000 trees were blown down in one estate in County Mayo and between one fifth and a quarter of the houses in Dublin were damaged. There was widespread damage on the night of 12-13 January 1974 when winds of 124 mph were recorded in County Down. But things will inevitably get worse if we do not take radical action urgently regarding global warming. We are destroying the planet and we are all guilty.

Happy New Year to all our readers!