2023. I can hardly believe I am typing this – and probably will not get it right again until March at the earliest!

By then we will surely have a revolution of the workers, the calling of a general strike and a rising up against the self-interest of the privileged elites. What choice will face a population when striking workers are treated as “others”? As though our nurses are not our families, our postal workers are not us, our teachers are not the friends we grew up with. The unions are – at last – standing up and not taking any more guff. Public sector workers in particular are not only standing up for their own pay, they are standing up for much more.

The ambulance workers who know they will not reach us in time and cannot get us into the hospital even when they get into the car park. And all of us who need them know this too.

The nurses who know that the care inside in hospitals and in the community is not good enough, because there are too few nurses holding the line and they are under too much strain. And all of us who need them know this too.

This is not only about their pay – it is about our safety, our services and the very future of access to healthcare and public services.

2023 will mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement at a time when it is under potentially fatal attack. President Joe Biden has committed to visiting Ireland and would love to come to endorse what is seen as a US foreign policy achievement with the US being the “significant other” of the Agreement. However, he will not coincide the visit with the anniversary if the institutions remain collapsed. It is likely that the British government, desperately seeking economic stability, would also like a Presidential visit, with the backdrop of Good Friday Agreement goodwill.

You have to imagine that a Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil government, in desperate need of a bounce, will be incandescent if it doesn’t happen. If Washington, Dublin and London do not succeed in efforts to put the institutions back up by the time the anniversary comes around we have to begin to think re-establishment might never happen at all.

And such a scenario will create an intensification of one debate – constitutional change. Many of us have already said until we are blue in the face that Ireland needs to plan for the constitutional referendum that is coming. The people need to contribute to planning and to the question that will be asked. Only the Dublin Oireachtas can lead this. We can all be persuaders, but the place for proper and credible planning has to be Government Buildings in Dublin.

Unionism’s inexplicable failure to make their beloved 'Northern Ireland' work will continue to place pressure on Dublin to make other plans. Irish citizens north and south need it. The diaspora needs it. With Leo Varadkar looking over both shoulders at a growing Sinn Féin it would be incomprehensible if a citizens' assembly were not called in 2023.

And whatever the big picture, all politics is local and local elections in May will potentially be far more an indicative vote about these big issues than about the conditions of our streets and local services.

Let’s be having you, 2023.