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Another day, another macabre discovery down the country

On Monday, an elderly couple was sadly found dead in their home in Co. Tipperary. The details are scant (as they should be—tragedy is not a spectator sport in spite of the days of headlines the case has generated), but what has emerged is that their remains may have lain there for so long that they will be only be identified by their dental records.

It also seems that the causes of death are “natural” insofar as there was no violence or forced entry evident at the scene, although the possible role of the world’s longest lockdown in their deaths is yet to be assessed.

In short, it seems that in the caring, compassionate Ireland of 2022, utopia’d by hate speech legislation, abortion on demand, and being in this together, you and your spouse can still lie dead in your home for the best part of 2 years without anybody ever putting in or out on you; without anybody ever caring.

What has happened to this country? What has become of us that we can trumpet our standing in this UN list or that UN list while the vulnerable elderly are left to die and decompose for years without any neighbour caring enough to notice the tinting clouds of flies swarming their windows?

How much must our society have rotted to make this just the most recent discovery in light of similar discoveries in Cork, Galway, and elsewhere over the course of the pandemic?

For a lot of us, it’s difficult not to frame these real-life, human tragedies in these broader social terms. We don’t remember hearing about as many of them when we were growing up because they were not as frequent. We wonder what the difference between then and now is, and it’s next to impossible to come to any conclusion other than one that spits in the eye of the “New, Compassionate Ireland” narrative that has been used to push so much socialist claptrap on us in recent years; claptrap that seems to at best coincide with the hardening of society and the coarsening of our hearts, and that seems to at worst cause it.

On St Patrick’s Day, 1943, Taoiseach De Valera delivered the most (in)famous speech of any Irish politician of the 20th Century: the “Ireland That We Dreamed Of,” oration, much maligned for a commonly attributed misquotation regarding comely maidens, dancing, and crossroads. The speech actually called for the filling of the countryside “with the contest of sturdy youths and the laughter of happy maidens”—in other words, a backwards Catholic Hellscape—and I can’t help but wonder whether it would even have been possible for situations like the Tipperary tragedy to have arisen in the tight knit, genuine community that it envisioned.

Reading a fourth straight day of voyeuristic, paper-doesn’t-refuse-ink coverage in the Irish Independent, Times, Examiner, and others, I feel sorry for the couple and for whatever family and friends they may have had. I feel sorry for the community as well, who are just like any other around the country, who will find it difficult to come to terms with what has happened, and who don’t deserve the paparazzi treatment that they’re getting.

The situation presents another opportunity for us to reflect on the kind of society we have become, and makes me think that the Old Ireland might not have been all bad after all.

 


 

KILLIAN FOLEY-WALSH

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