What is the point in doing turkey and roast ham with all the trimmings; the very imitation of the seasonal feast of the British aristocracy, if you are going to act like a savage and cast the left-overs out into a public green? Really? Every year the same sight greets me in the week after Christmas in the inner city: a half-eaten bird, left-over spuds and other crud strewn all over the grass where other people take their kids and dogs for a walk. I always feel that this is a time when we should all take special pride in the cooking that we do, in the company that we keep and in the way that we behave. Without this we might as well have a microwave dinner and eat the damn thing alone. What sort of person acts like this?

I know that there is a great deal of hardship in the Liberties and in many other parts of Dublin’s inner city. I have seen it, and I have experienced it. I have seen families struggling through addiction, violence and real poverty. Christmas doesn’t magic it all away. We know that, but the very effort to stop and mark Christmas implies its very sacredness. The meal itself is sacred; the time with family, the break from the other realities of the year. Casting the left-overs out into a public space negates all the goodwill shown in the cards and the greetings. It makes the whole thing a show and marks it as yet another sort of worthlessness. Didn’t we celebrate Christmas to resist all that is worthless?

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