That’s it now, its all over bar the shouting, my grandmother would exclaim once the big day had come and gone. She would deliver this with a big happy smile. I mostly associate that statement with Christmas when I was a lot younger and visiting her home in Delvin, County Westmeath. At the time I never fully appreciated the effort that my parents and my mother’s mother had put into making the day a memorable one.

I have often thought about that statement and tried to better understand what my grandmother meant by it. Did she mean that it was a relief to have it over with? did she mean, “now is the time to celebrate”? or was she saying, “I’ve done my best, now it is over to you”?

That sentiment came to mind again in recent days. 2020 is making way for 2021. We will all remember 2020 for a lot of reasons but what will surely be most important now that ‘its all over’ is what we do with the ‘shouting’. It turns out that my grandmother did not invent this phrase but clearly found good use for it. It’s origin goes back to the nineteenth century. One view is that it relates to politics. Once the voting was complete and the ballots had been assembled for counting the opposing parties would let out a huge roar, known as the ‘shoutings’. The loudest roar would signal who got the most votes in advance of the actual counting. In 1842 Charles James Apperly used the term in a sporting context to indicate that victory was a formality.

It is a handy little phrase that we can use for a number of purposes. For me I will celebrate the beginning of the end of the pandemic and the opportunity for a more inclusive society in the world’s largest economy. In the post Brexit context, I will take the “I’ve done my best, now it is over to you” interpretation. Being of an optimistic disposition, I would expect that a resilient Irish economy will be able to mitigate the negative impacts of Brexit and leverage the opportunities it provides.

Going back to my grandmother and my mother’s hometown Delvin, this small village was the inspiration for Brinsley MacNamara’s 1918 novel ‘The Valley of the Squinting Windows’. A town where everybody knew everybody else’s business and wishes them to fail. As the novel illustrates, its beneficial for all to have and be good neighbours.

#Brexit #Incluson #Vaccine