A survey shows that around 5,000 school children do not have laptops to follow online lessons. These children will have missed most of their schooling during the covid desert year. And now they’ll be missing on engaging with their educational program falling miles behind their mates, the ones that can google, ask their teacher a question by sending a text, and share their notes with their friends after hours.

A charity is asking businesses to donate used laptops so they can be distributed among the laptop-deprived children. That’s a good thing. Help if you can.

But this is also an indictment of our priorities. Yesterday we learnt there are brand new unused electric buses the government bought spending €1.9 million (if you include the charging stations). They’re gathering dust in a field because no one knows what to do with them

At €400 each, €1.9 million buys you all the laptops you need to feed the 5,000.

5,000 children could be impressed by the graphic designs on the website promising a new metro if only they had a laptop to see it on.

When education is not a priority, every other priority becomes impossible to reach. When charity feels the need to step in, it is because the government has failed to deliver and guarantee inclusion. Five thousand children are being abandoned on the wrong side of the digital divide. When everybody and his dog writes inanities on Facebook like their life depended on it, we have children that are cut off from the library of our time.

This is a disgrace. It is shameful that a charity needs to do this. We have a small country and the cost of delivering these laptops is, in the big scheme of things, infinitesimal.

We have forgotten what comes first.