Let’s face it: In one, very limited respect, this isn’t the worst idea in the world. January is everyone’s least favourite month, right? Maybe if we move Christmas, we can retain all the festive cheer of December, but keep the mince pies and mulled wine and Mariah Carey singing inappropriate lines about Santa Claus until January:
AN IRISH health expert has urged that we delay Christmas until January in order to crush coronavirus once and for all.
Dr Tómas Ryan, Associate Professor in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College, also made the suggestion so that the people of Ireland can celebrate the holiday properly.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Dr Ryan warned the country could find itself back at 1,000 cases a day by January if Level Five restrictions are lifted as planned on December 1.
“Even if we get down to 100 cases a day on December 1, it seems to me it would be much more profitable and pleasant for everyone in Ireland if we got cases down to single figures or to zero and then kept them there so that we could open up and stay open for as long as possible,” he said.
“One way of doing this would be to delay Christmas until the end of January and have a real Christmas and a real party then.”
Infectious diseases expert Professor Paddy Mallon also warned that the Irish public needs to “sit back and think about what they want from Christmas” as they are not going to have “a normal Christmas”.
In every other respect, of course, this is a truly terrible idea. Terrible for national morale, terrible for religious freedom, and terrible for what it says about the priorities of the Government’s advisors.
For one thing, it’s simply not practical. It’s hard to believe that this needs to be said, but we’ll say it anyway: Ireland cannot unilaterally move Christmas. And I am not even talking here, about the religious part of Christmas. Think about all of those people, internationally, who get their Christmas holidays and make the trip home to Ireland to see their families. Think about the traditional news reports from the airport, on Christmas Eve, with people who haven’t seen parents and siblings all year arriving in from Chicago and London and Sydney, and such places. What are we going to do? Ask foreign Governments to consider delaying the Christmas break for their Irish immigrants?
There’s also, of course, the religious element, not that that matters a jot to the people who make decisions in this country.
But the Government, or its advisors (Prof Ryan falls into the latter category) would not, you might wager, suggest to Muslims that it might be convenient for them to move Eid Mubarak to another date to facilitate the Covid lockdown. Some religions, you see, are taken seriously. Others, like Christianity, are regarded as little more than an inconvenience.
It takes a special degree of arrogance to believe that Christmas can simply be moved by Governmental fiat, but here we are.
If this policy were to be pursued (and for the avoidance of doubt, it almost certainly won’t be) then we’d have a situation where tens of thousands of Irish families would simply celebrate it anyway. You wouldn’t be doing anything to limit the potential spread of the Coronavirus, you’d simply be inviting people to get into the habit of completely ignoring the state’s coronavirus regulations.
Anyway, there’s no need to worry. Politicians are not this stupid – from a pure vote getting point of view (which is, and always shall be, priority number one) postponing Christmas would be a political disaster – a signal that the Government’s strategy and promises of better times ahead were a complete nonsense.
Christmas will go ahead, whether Prof Ryan likes it, or not.