17 July 2012

O'Lympic Games - Irish style!

There have been some farcical aspects to the preparations for the London Olympic Games, which will run from 27 July till 12 August. Damian Kelly, the Australian media liaison officer recounts in today's London Daily Telegraph - in a good-humoured way - how the bus carrying some of the Australian team from Heathrow Airport to the Olympic Village was not only late, but the driver, a Dubliner like myself, didn't know the way. All this after a 23-hour flight from Sydney via Singapore.

Of a somewhat more serious nature is the failure of G4S, the security company hired for the Olympics, to fulfill its obligations. G4S Chief Buckles Under Pressure is a headline that can be read in more ways than one. The CEO of the company, Nick Buckles, with a salary of £830,000 per year, is to be questioned by members of parliament. Among other things, the company couldn't recruit enough security guards. So members of the army, some on leave from Afghanistan, will fill the gaps.

Mr Buckles won't suffer any pain if he loses his job. He'll walk away with £20 million, part of the £50 million his company is expected to lose in this fiasco.

The stringent security required for international events is a sad necessity of our times. But the obscene salaries and perks of many executives who cause immense harm to the lives of many people through mismanagement is a sign that society has lost its way. Many of the Aussie athletes helped their driver to find directions to the Olympic Village through text messages and what not. But millions of people in Europe, especially in Ireland, have found themselves in financial distress because of bankers who gambled with their money and lost - and walked away with huge bonuses, laughing all the way to another bank.

The words of St Columban on the top of the home page of my blog may have some relevance: Since we are travellers and pilgrims in the world, let us ever ponder on the end of the road, that is of our life, for the end of our roadway is our home.

Spike Milligan's zany humour is probably an expression of a sanity that doesn't always exist in the 'real' world. Spike was born in India of an Irish father, an army officer, and an English mother. Though he spent most of his life in England he was an Irish citizen by choice. God rest his soul.

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