Facing the stormy weather

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LAST week BBC Newsline put together a special programme chronicalling its reports during the March blizzard. Nature didn’t assault everywhere but many people suffered a dreadful battering. The BBC’s surveillance of assailance brought us examples of great hardship but also great spirit and kindness. Farmers obviously featured heavily across the BBC reporting.

I was amazed about how philosophical they all were. I suppose if you live with nature all the time you can’t afford to let being taken by surprise knock you over. The people responsible for electricity, roads, water, hospitals and emergency services did the very best that they could. They knuckled down and delivered the services without drama or bluster. It seemed to me that maybe a positive feature of the really extreme weather was that no one could be blamed for any kind of poor oversight or complacency. Everyone with a job to do was able to do it without feeling under attack or trying to justify things done or not done. Politicians too avoided interfering. Our politicians behaved appropriately and pulled together. At the end of the BBC’s compilation programme their reporter Mark Simpson commented that it would be a long time before anyone could forget the blizzard of March 2013. Hopefully our politicians won’t forget it in a hurry either and will take note of how well everything works in the face of considerable adversity when they knuckle down and use the powers and responsibilities we give them earnestly. Through the blizzard response there was one minor heckling outburst about helicopter nationality. I reckon if Prince William himself had brought emergency supplies or if Michael D Higgins had dropped from a helicopter no one in real life would have been anything other than grateful.

I was heckled myself last week in response to an article in this paper the previous week. I said I was not in favour of a new market in Newry Street. Mr Brian McCaffrey LL.B (QUB) has set out a different opinion. Nothing wrong with that. Clearly we hold different opinions.

As proposer of the scheme Mr McCaffrey questioned how reasonable it was for me as solicitor for Banbridge District Council and the ratepayers of Banbridge to comment as I did. He invited me to confirm my position as untenable. Not having an address for Mr McCaffrey I can only point out in this column that I have never acted for Banbridge District Council in relation to any aspect of market provision in Banbridge. I have had no access to any proposals or submissions made to Councillors. I am not the solicitor for ratepayers. I have no financial interest, professional or otherwise, in the market issue.