Compare the generous reaction to Notre Dame with miserly one to Grenfell: ex-MLA
Survivors mourning for their friends and neighbours can only wonder at the vast generosity towards Notre Dame when compared to the grudging response to the tragedy which saw 72 people perish in an avoidable inferno.Close on a billion pounds has been donated for the refurbishment of Notre Dame cathedral.But many Grenfell Tower residents still don’t have a home to go to after the fire on June 14, 2017.The Grenfell families were all from the working class. And some were the wrong colour. Once the smoke had cleared, their lives didn’t matter much.The blaze at Notre Dame appears to have been accidental. But the Grenfell tragedy was not only forseeable but had been foreseen.Residents had complained about the fire hazard to Kensington council – to no effect.The flats had been built on the cheap and then wrapped around with killer material.The cathedral of Notre Dame is a cultural treasure. Dismay at its destruction was inevitable and understandable. The impulse to restore it to its former glory is right and proper. However there is a question regarding priorities here which has largely been lost sight of. Theresa May took to Twitter to “underline our solidarity with France and her people.” But she hasn’t shown much solidarity with the people of Grenfell Tower.Her pledge to the Grenfell families that they would all be housed in suitable accommodation within three months has simply been forgotten.Of course, she didn’t mean it in the first place.Just as the super-rich who coughed up a billion in no time at all for Notre Dame all kept their hands in their pockets when it came to the people of Grenfell.
• Eamonn McCann is the former Foyle MLA for the party People Before Profit Alliance, and a longstanding left-wing commentator