"I know a good, tough fight when I see one and we have one on our hands" - Conor McGregor
Maybe this is exactly what many Irish people need - a rallying cry that applies to our fighting spirit.
On Tuesday afternoon, just over an hour before An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addressed the Irish nation to announce new measures to help tackle the Coronavirus spread, Conor McGregor delivered an address of his own.
Clearly razzed up and with a lot on his mind, 'The Notorious' delivered a speech of just over two and a half minutes that called on Irish authorities to immediately bring us into a full lockdown.
"While we are all currently debating a full lockdown, I feel that we must," he proclaimed. "Any time that we spend debating is needless time from the clock."
McGregor made his passionate plea to Varadkar, leading government officials and politicians, President Michael D. Higgins, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, Chief of Staff of Ireland's Defence Forces.
The premise was simple - Ireland has seen the catastrophic impact the Covid-19 disease is having on other country's and, in effect, has a head-start to get out ahead of the outbreak with stringent measures.
McGregor's post bore the hallmarks of a man frustrated by the scenes he is witnessing the world over and doing something to battle against that awful feeling of helplessness. He is not the only one to experience that sensation, but at least he has a huge platform. His speech was not perfect but it struck a chord that will resonate with many on this isle.
- "I know a good, tough fight when I see one and we have one on our hands, now. And I would call upon my people, the great people of Ireland, this fight needs us all. We are all in the red corner together and awaiting the bell. So let's ring the bell ourselves."
- "True lockdown must begin, and it must begin now. A lockdown together, a lockdown united."
- "Powers that be, I am calling on you. The fate of our great island depends on it."
- "We have the advantage here in that we can see this coming. We can see this coming! If we do not act on our advantage, then we cannot expect different results."
- "Ireland, WE HAVE GOT THIS!"
The time is now 🇮🇪🙏🌍
Closing of Airports as well as all non essential business, along with stricter adherence to social distancing, must be put in place now!
We can do this ❤️
Posted by Conor McGregor on Tuesday, March 24, 2020
The thrust of McGregor's comments is exactly the way we should be tackling our role in this global pandemic. We're in a fight. We're in something nasty, but we're in it together.
I don't know about you, but it got my blood pumping from my new base-camp at home.
Those that may scoff at a Mixed Martial Arts star making demands of the country's leaders and experts are the ones that probably scoffed at McGregor before. Each to their own, but it cannot be denied that McGregor has sway with a younger demographic than many of those figures.
If McGregor's message gets through to even a handful of young people that take it on-board and stay at home, next time, rather than venturing out, then it has been a worthwhile exercise.
Many are complaining about teenagers and those in their early 20s congregating together when grown men and women were out drinking in pubs up until gardaí had to come and shut them down or until they were shamed into staying home themselves. Not that many teenagers were over in Cheltenham as the rest of Ireland started getting in gear and entering the first phases of this lockdown.
McGregor will have noted, with interest, that Ireland will be imposing greater measures to combat the spread of Covd-19, including the impending closures of what are deemed as many non-essential services and further limits on social interaction.
Ryan Reynolds - from his house in Canada - delivered an excellent piece on how we can all play our part in stopping the spread of Coronavirus.
"I think, in times of crisis," the actor said, "we all know that it’s the celebrities that we count on most. They’re the ones that are going to get us through this... right after health care workers, of course. And first responders, people who work in essential services, ping-pong players, mannequins, childhood imaginary friends... like, 400 other types of people."
Reynolds and McGregor are big names in their spheres of influence but they're using the platforms they have to get their message out. If I had several million followers on social media, I'd try and use it for some good right about now.
Stay at home. Pull together and hang on tight.