Christmas is a time of contemplation for many; all the human emotions come together in their strongest forms. It’s both heart-warming and heart-breaking, depending on individual circumstances.
This is a theme that has been mentioned often in the Limerick Life office this week, as we report on our citizens during the Christmas season. Some are gathering in the Milk Market to celebrate the holiday with friends and families, decorating their warm homes, or stocking their fridge with festive food. Others aren’t so lucky: they may not have enough to eat, a safe, secure bed or any family to call upon during this lonely time.
It’s our duty to tell all of these stories, touching on the full spectrum from positive to negative. At Limerick Life, we like to think we’re a little different to other newspapers. We examine our city with open eyes and an open heart, reporting variously on its successes, its failures, its past and its future. We are continually focused on the people who make this city ours, which is why it is a paper full of interviews, as well as thought-provoking opinion, commentary and analysis. Our city is one of immense history and remarkable architecture, but it would be nothing without its citizens.
This week, for example, Ciarán Ryan interviews Saidi Mohamedi, a tailor from Malawi who moved here some years ago. Ciarán walked with him down Mallow Street, observing as Saidi nodded and chatted to friends and acquaintances. “I like it in Limerick,” he explains. A friend told him that “the Irish were the best people of all the European countries.”
It’s a view echoed by Sarah, a Zimbabwean mother of two whom I met while researching this edition’s Focus, which looks at life in Knockalisheen Direct Provision Centre. She has been in Limerick for two and a half years, but in that time she has made it her home. She has plans to become a psychologist, and is looking forward to a future outside of the centre, in which she and her daughters will forge a new life in Limerick.
In this week’s Motormouth column, Brian O’Cadhla interviews Jim, a delightful nonagenarian reader who contacted us to tell us about his own motoring experience – all eight decades of it.
Martin Mullins is still travelling in South America, and filed his copy from Chile. He recounts the story of the ‘March of the Penguins’, in which brave teenagers rose up to protest the injustices of their government. This edition of the Through the Ages series recalls a similar uprising, when Limerick’s starving poor rioted for food in 1830.
Greg O Shaughnessy examines the Legal Aid system in Ireland, questioning why tax payer funds are being spent defending criminals with dozens of convictions. Mary O’Keeffe looks at the effects that a repeal of the Eighth Amendment could have on sex education policies, while Ciarán Ryan interviews the award-winning Rusangano Family, who have just celebrated their most successful year yet.
Christmas is also a time of charity, in which we take stock of how fortunate we are, and make an effort to alleviate the suffering of others. We’re all busy, and under our own pressures, but there is always something that can be done, no matter how small. It might be buying phone credit for an asylum-seeker, donating to the Limerick Suicide Watch, or sleeping out to raise awareness of the homeless crisis. We can all play a role in making this great city great for everyone.
We’re taking a short break over the Christmas period, and will return in late January. Until then, we will be reporting from our website, at www.limerick.life. Please continue to drop by, say hello, and let us have your opinion on our stories, columns and features.
We are deeply indebted to our 40,000 readers for their support and loyalty since 2016, and we look forward to welcoming the New Year with you.
Nollaig Shona Daoibh.