Hello to all the Advertiser readers.
I am sure readers have noticed that, almost on a weekly basis now, some huge, often terrible event hits us here in Ireland which cuts across whatever signs of hope and optimism are within us of coping satisfactorily with the pandemic.
So it was last week, when we had the cyber attack on our health service. This is supposed to be the crucial week in which the dark net of cyber criminals will decide if they are going to let out private health information, or whatever they plan to do. So we are all filled with foreboding as we await that.
Just when we had thought we had seen the very worst of events, we had the terrible court case about the three children who were killed by their mother whilst she was in the throes of a very deep psychotic nervous breakdown. The lovely picture on all of last week’s papers showed dad, Andrew McGinley, with his wife Deirdre Morley and the three shining faces of their truly beautiful children Conor, Darragh and Carla. I looked at Prime Time last Thursday, even though I had a phone call from a dear friend of mine who thought that I shouldn’t as it would make me depressed, but I wanted to see them in all their childlike glory. Their children’s shining eyes, their love of life and the love given to them by their father and their mother was extraordinary.
It is so important that we register the event and, if Andrew McGinley has his way, forthcoming planned legislation will ensure that a very close relative of the person who is undergoing treatment will be a stated advocate for that person.
Andrew McGinley is doing his best to set up memorials of his three children according to the things that they had talked about and they wanted to do. Deirdre Morley will, in time, get out of the Central Mental Hospital and she and her husband will, I’m sure, try to set up their life together again. But this is where I foresee the great difficulty: how can either of them come to grips with what has happened in their lives?
That horrific event brings us all up short and makes us think and wonder about why we should complain about anything in our lives, when what has happened that family has been explained so vividly to us.
Life goes on, and Saturday night last we had the Eurovision. I looked at it but lost interest very quickly, though I did see the Italian number.
I had two work-related items last week and one was the annual general meeting of Active Retirement Ireland. There were to be 500 people in the Hodson Bay but clearly that was now a virtual event. The PRO of the ARI came to see me accompanied by his microphone etc, and I did a speech as if I was talking to all of the members. They are a very busy organisation and with great autonomy at local and regional level.
Then on another day, a person from the Leader programme in Roscommon did a giant interview with me which is to be divided into three: 1 ) My life before politics; 2 ) My life in politics; and 3 ) My life after politics. This was all prior to the whole McGinley disaster, so I was in good form for doing that kind of work and I very much enjoyed both interviews.
There was a marvellous programme last Monday night on RTÉ One at 8.30pm. I have an idea it was on before, but I had forgotten the detail of it until I saw it. It was under the heading Building Ireland and it was all about how the Transatlantic Telegraph Cable transformed Valentia Island in the 19th century into a telecommunications hub with an impact compared to the advent of the internet. It was just fascinating what was able to be done almost 200 years ago.
Then on Sunday, there were so many GAA games in Allianz League between football and hurling, but I particularly enjoyed Kerry versus Dublin. It wasn’t on TV, but I listened to it on radio. Sometimes radio is more descriptive and evocative than the pictorial TV, but it was a great match with honour all round, ending in a draw between what appear to be the two Goliaths of GAA football. I hope Kerry keep up their winning ways, and I hope that we will finally have a team fit to face up to Dublin when the time comes.
Meanwhile, there is the huge worry now of the outcome of the cyber attacks, and of course the ongoing worry about the Indian variant of the virus, even though there was a report out last weekend that the vaccines are able to cope with whatever variant is thrown up in this long-running saga. The one bright note in all of that is that the vaccination programme is powering ahead, even numerically above the headiest of expectations.
Anyway, back to where I started. I truthfully will pray that Andrew McGinley keeps his mind and spirit intact and will pursue his commemoration ideas for his three children. I hope also that he will be called upon to assist in the new legislation with regard to mental health and how they treat cases such as Deirdre Morley, and that somehow Andrew and Deirdre, when she emerges from her treatment, will be able to rebuild a life together. That will be so difficult, I know.
That’s my lot for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay out of crowds, and always keep your distance.
Slán go fóill.