The current financial nosedive shows every sign of sliding off The Recession Richter Scale. We have staggered from Celtic tiger to Celtic cripple in one short year; but unless we grasp the sheer scale of what is coming down the tracks, then we will soon become a banana republic — without the bananas. Fortunately we still have a chance as we now have a growing ‘army’ of fit, intelligent but unemployed young people ready to go to work.

This army of young men and women could quite feasibly turn the outskirts of every town and city in the country into State owned fruit and vegetable producing units (allotments). This would drastically reduce imports and leave us almost self-sufficient in this area. Participants would receive a share of the produce enabling them to take part to some degree in the cash (retail) economy. They would also be physically and mentally healthier and happier and so ready for any potential upturn that came along. Timber could also be planted and harvested on a massive scale so that scarce government cash would not be needed even for the existing free fuel scheme.

Well-appointed communal cr̬ches could built for single/unemployed parents. Suitable expert professional child care training if provided for 25 out of every 100 , would free up the remaining 75 to contribute to the needs of older people and also to provide other essential services Рnow being cut.

Older – and not so old – people love to garden but often find it impossible to bend or dig in hard ground. The following idea could provide work for many young unemployed as well as pleasure for the elderly. Both would thus be happier – and healthier.

INSTANT – AT HOME – ALLOTMENTS FOR THE ELDERLY — (AND POSSIBLY INFIRM!)

These would automatically eradicate the need for frail elderly gardeners to leave their possibly even frailer partners to commute to exposed communal allotments.

A crane-mounted truck would deliver precast concrete, stone faced, maintenance free raised vegetable beds onto a pre prepared base. Add small fruit trees in raised containers and fixed trellis for climbing fruits, peas, beans and tomatoes. An area the size of a conventional allotment could be covered in less than an hour!

And so, with bending and digging eliminated, thousands of happier and therefore healthier older people could go straight out their back doors to enjoy light, pleasant work in their very own organic garden! (Happier older people are healthier, so this plan would also take some more of the strain off our overwhelmed HSE.)

Setting up and operating the pre cast raised bed plants (small factories) preparing the fixed allotment sized bases — mixing and filling with soil/compost — delivering the finished product – Office work — all would give significant amounts of genuinely useful, meaningful as well as satisfying work to skilled as well as unskilled unemployed young men – and also take some of the strain off government coffers. .

I know ideas like this will require a lot of organisation. But if the alternative is to let our young people go to seed while our country goes bust — then I feel it should at least be given a trial. .

Yours sincerely,

George Mac Donald,

Creagh Heights,

Gorey,

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