“The country will be back to normal in 2053” reveals the thoughts of Jack Kennedy in a future Ireland scenario.
The country will be back to normal in 2053
‘I am the bones of twenty stone, thirty-nine years old and live in Newtowncork. Like so many in depressed Ireland, I have taken the prescribed drugs route to stay sane, but they are not working too well for me, nothing is.
Economic experts say the crash has bottomed out, that judging from past downturn recoveries the country will be back to normal in 2053, another nine years away.
Growing into adulthood people said that I, John Kennedy, was lucky to have been born at the tail end of the last bad recession. I suppose I did in a way, living through a period when living standards kept on getting better and better, the thirty-three hours working week, fifty days vacation plus the sick days entitlement and free public transport if you opted to live in a high rise block of apartments in a new city or town, what was promulgated as a solution to the housing crisis. Yes, there was the nation-wide downside, the decommissioning and demolishing of villages and scattered rural communities, the closing of public houses. The Future Ireland political party promised so much, said the expertly costed policies would bear fruit if Ireland aligned with the USA, the US dollar. In effect, Ireland became an undocumented State of the United States of America.
The USA military needing graduates to operate their smart war machines in smart wars enticed me to join the Navy where I became a drone controller, penalising (from my comfortable work station) people with skin whose shade is not the colour of mine to die in infernos. But the long rest periods in my stateroom, the long nights reflecting on the consequences of my occupation got to me, causing a mental breakdown. Demobbed on medical grounds, I refused to further my education as I was entitled to under the terms of the GI Bill.
Back in Ireland, unable to put the unsettling thoughts that I had had in my US Navy stateroom out of my head, I drifted.
Now, I live seventeen floors up in an apartment block. The drab twenty-story edifice is one of twenty-five planted on what were agricultural fields by the Bandon river. Newtowncork has a population of forty thousand. I never take the bus or train to any other town or city. Along with other austerity measures, the once-upon-a-time free transport service has incrementally got expensive. For now, I exist in a high-rise tomb that is on an island when the Bandon river floods.
It’s hard to comprehend now that Ireland was once in what was called the European Union and using the Euro currency. The Irish dollar is aligned with Uncle Sams. Wishfully, the Conservative political party is advocating for Ireland to realign with Great Britain, the adoption of the sterling currency and benefit from the Commonwealth’s fast-developing economies.
In the meantime, Ireland’s economy remains in the doldrums. The country will be back to normal in 2053, how are ya!’