what business opportunities does the COVID-19 pandemic present?

We exist in the grips of a world plagued by uncertainty, doubt, fear and inevitably, opportunity.

We, the people are flailing in unchartered waters. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only claimed human life by the boatload, but has affected the prospects of small businesses which need the most support. We are all on this boat together, and only by working together can we overcome this threat.

As you sit reading this, coffee in hand, roughly half the Earth’s population are in self-isolation or government-run quarantine, endlessly scrolling their social media feeds. This presents a vital opportunity to re-brand your businesses website and logo, and attract potential customers who have seemingly endless free time to plot their business strategies. The difference is willingness to engage in this difficult time. This presents a chance to get a leg-up on your competition by demonstrating your aesthetic, values and ethics.

Crisis management is a crucial element of any business, large or small. How we deal with this decides how our brands are viewed in the long-term. For some businesses, re-branding means survival. For some, it means continued prosperity. Most importantly of all, it gives the opportunity to present a fresh face in preparation for the aftermath of an event we all hope to soon see disappearing in our rear view mirrors. Possible months of quarantine are on the cards and we will all look back and ask – “what have I achieved?”

If the answer to this question on a personal level is “not much”, there is no need to worry. While some have taken up exciting new hobbies, many people are struggling and the take-home message is that we all move at our own pace. As Teddy Roosevelt succinctly stated, “comparison is the thief of joy”. My advice is to plan for the worst, hope for the best and probably land somewhere in-between.

STAY INSIDE

we live under lockdown
we can’t crowd the function
all other options
seem completely exhausted

we live under lockdown
masks cover our faces
movies in the evenings
cigarettes at dawn

we live under lockdown
the borders all in order
on the inside of the margin
we occupy these walls

the tins of beans
jump off the shelves
did they grow legs
and leave themselves?

we live under lockdown
we exist, therefore we think
we are under lockdown
we can’t tell the difference

NOUVO LEAN

the toothpicks are in need of refilling, pricks poised to sting:

to shoot steam-pressure-heat like a hanoi hickey.

now
picking and cleaning
the wound:
iodine,
gauze;
amateur job.

then
onto the panini place,
not small itself – just the one
that i wanted.
met a sweet kiwi named sophie
and fronted,
told her she had a south african twang.

What are your favourite quotes?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the timelessness of the written word. I’m going to share a few of my favourite quotes here — I hope you enjoy! If you feel the urge, respond to this post with some of your favourites. 🙂

 

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde

 

“I’d rather have a full bottle in front of me than a full frontal lobotomy.” – Dorothy Parker (Famously repeated by Tom Waits)

 

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

 

“The thing men and women need to do is stick together, progressions can’t be made if we’re separate forever.” – Q-Tip (of A Tribe Called Quest)

 

“Today a young man on acid realised that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves.” – Bill Hicks

 

“Why pamper life’s complexities when the leather runs smooth on the passenger seat?” – Morrissey (from The Smith’s ‘This Charming Man’)

 

“Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.” – Alan Watts

 

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognise: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Repealing the Eight and Social Progress in Ireland

On Thursday, December 20th 2018 , our recently reappointed President Michael D. Higgins (affectionately referred to as Miggedly Higgins), signed the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill of 2018 into law. The final flourishes required to give the gift of choice to the women of my country will be applied by Minister for Health Simon Harris, via the signing of statutory instruments. This was preceded by many weeks of consternation and heated debate in Ireland’s houses of Parliament – the Dáil and the Seanad (Senate).

The referendum, held in May 2018, did not allow for postal voting. This, to me, is a tool of control. I didn’t have a choice to vote for a referendum which I have been eagerly awaiting and interested in. Like many young, educated Irish folks, I live abroad. However, I love my country; I adore how far we have progressed socially in a short space of time in many facets of society. I love my countrymen and women; my Irish brothers and sisters who chose to stay in the country, resisting the urge of better weather, a cheaper cost of living and job opportunities. I love you for staying put and for coming out to vote – a staggering 67% in favour of repealing the Eight Amendment.

I think back to when I was a student of Civil Law in University, optimistic that change
would come; but cynical as to its pace. As the old Guinness advertisement states –

“Good things come to those who wait.”

We didn’t have to wait too much longer, but yet it wasn’t a minute too soon.

It muddles my brain to consider that we have been so entrenched in the swamp of Roman Catholic views for so long. While we are now considered progressive, I had a hard time explaining to my continental European friends the reasons why although Ireland had just become the first country in the world to vote yes for same-sex marriage in 2015… we were still sending approximately 12 women a day to the U.K. to seek advice and treatment relating to the termination of pregnancies. Cognitive dissonance was the general reaction – and it was completely understandable.

I was living in Ireland temporarily when the Same-Sex Marriage Referendum vote occurred. I cast mine, knowing that this was a sure thing. 62% voted for love in the end. It was a moment of unification and pride – a collective sense of accomplishment at how far we had come in terms of tolerance. In 1993 following a fourteen-year campaign, Senator David Norris managed to single-handedly drag Ireland into the late 20th century via the decriminalisation of same-sexual activity. Norris was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in Ireland, and by 1987 he was a Senator.

Firstly, Norris took the Attorney General to Ireland’s High Court over the criminalisation of same-sex acts. The law he sought to repeal was passed under British rule and was therefore in his view, repugnant to the very core of Ireland as its own, independent state. He was turned away. Undeterred, he appealed to the Supreme Court, but was narrowly defeated by a margin of 3-2. Steely-eyed and determined, Senator Norris took the issue to the European Court of Human Rights, which stated that the criminalisation of same-sex acts was in direct contradiction with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Although Ireland was privy to this, the law was not repealed until 1993.

Following the repeal of the law, Senator Norris broadened the scope of his mission, stating:

“I did start out on that campaign [for homosexual law reform] but I found very quickly that the mechanism of discrimination was exactly the same against women, against ethnic minorities, against the handicapped, so I broadened out and this now is how I see things, very much so.”

These mechanisms of discrimination are evident in societies all across the world. These mechanisms may manifest themselves in differing ways – but the result remains the same.

The Irish state has been heavily influenced of the Catholic Church for so long that these issues weren’t even up for debate. The Church had a part to play in building our country… but played an even bigger part in marginalising, abusing and exerting aggressive influence on society. This waning of the Church’s influence came in small drips and drabs – contraceptives were illegal in Ireland up until 1980 – but the The Health (Family Planning) (Amendment) Act, 1985 softened this stance by permitting the sale of condoms and spermicides to be to people over 18 without the need to present a prescription. Sale, however, was limited to certain areas named in the act itself. My own parents moved abroad to seek opportunity in England during this time. I often wonder if they hadn’t, if I would now be sitting here in the midst of a middle-age crisis. Instead I’ve found peace and embraced my quarter-life crisis.

In 1995 – the Irish were granted the power to divorce.

This was kept under tight regulation and demanded the satisfaction of a high threshold. The Church saw its grip on society begin to wane. My parents’ generation who were constantly reminded that there was a place in hell reserved for all those who deviated from the narrow moral teachings of a powerful religious institution – weren’t quite sure what to make of this.

Following many reports and publications of the abuses and cruelty of the Church at home and abroad, people began to turn away from the institution of control. The mass-organised fuss about death that strangely didn’t seem concerned with human life became too much to process for many people. This, coupled with the Pope refusing to acknowledge the quiet killing of 800 babies in a ‘workhouse’ in Tuam, Co. Galway, in the early to mid-1900s in addition to the rampant sexual abuse of children that was covered up by the Church, only swayed public opinion further.

So now I find myself circling back to the present day, without delving into the more gruesome details of this long-standing abortion debate. With each passing year, it becomes more beautiful to see the influence of the Church wane.

The plethora of weighty reasons why Church and State should remain separate are evident. Personal belief is a most blessed and beautiful response to the harshness and unpredictability of this life. I find it far removed from the institutions of power which run the show.

For all the women who felt as if their country didn’t care for them, sat on EasyJet flights with bitten nails, frayed nerves and an overwhelming sense of disillusionment – I hope that you find some solace in this news. 2018 marked the 100-year anniversary of Irish women being given the right to vote. Now, you have the freedom to choose.