I have had reason recently to take more interest in the well being of those in our local communities.
A pensioner was telling me how she was happy to see the summer arrive but her reason for being delighted to see summer; she couldn't afford to pay for heating any more. She hasn't been able afford heating since the beginning of April. She was living in her house coat until summer came in order to stay warm. She'll have to spend the summer saving because the fuel allowance only goes so far. There is no family around to help this woman and neighbours do all they can, but everyone is feeling the pinch.
After a short chat a young father informed me that he had been let off last year after being with a company for ten years. He confided in me that he cries himself to sleep some nights because he knows there's an electricity bill coming and he hasn't the money to pay it. After ten years of work, this man is on his knees, not by his own doing but by the pathological speculation of fat-cat bankers.
One man with a family of seven told me how they built a beautiful home in 2006. He works every hour he can now. Since his wife lost her job money has been tight. The bank have told him he's not making enough of an effort to pay his mortgage, and they're going to sell his house. His home is going to be sold out form under him. He called me last week for advice. The bank have given him 7 days to vacate the property or they will evict him. This man isn't taking advantage of the system, he's just an honest, hard working man trying to raise a family. How can we let this happen?
A mother told me that her only child graduated last year. Five years paying for his education, never letting him know how tough things were. Hoping that getting his masters would mean he would get a job in Ireland. He emigrated a couple of months ago. She doesn't think he'll be coming home. Sadder still, she admitted she doesn't really want him to come back and I quote “Because there's nothing here for young people nowadays.” Her tone said everything her words could not.
Of all the wrenching stories I heard, the most disturbing was this one man. He was feeling depressed, he spends every day contemplating the worst. He's lost his business, his sense of purpose. He stopped looking for work because his spirit can't hack the rejection any more. I tried consoling him. He got very emotional, and all I could say was "Have hope." His answer struck me,"I don't have any hope. There's no light at the end of my tunnel."
These aren't stories of a by-gone era, they're stories of real people struggling today. They are the stories of our mothers, our fathers, our sisters, our brothers, our sons and our daughters. That is why I have opened up a Facebook Page called Roscommon's Journey to Hope. I am inviting Roscommon people to contribute to it. I am particularly interested in ideas about how we can take control of our own future. We need a future where all Roscommon people can begin to feel hopeful again.
Roscommon's Journey To Hope Facebook Page:
"If you're willing to keep moving forward, eventually you will succeed."
All opinions and views expressed are my own, they do not necessarily reflect the positions of my businesses.
One reader asked why I monitor my comments and why they must be approved, and just for the rest of you it's not for censorship, it's because of Spam-bots. I'll publish all comments posted by real people :)