Saturday 3 December 2016

Time for Middle Ireland to stand up for real values

We need to stop wasting time online and start talking to real people again

Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 29/11/2015 | 02:30

'The Irish may be among the world's biggest users of social media, but don't be fooled. Still only a quarter have signed up to Twitter and the time they spend on it is shrinking'
'The Irish may be among the world's biggest users of social media, but don't be fooled. Still only a quarter have signed up to Twitter and the time they spend on it is shrinking'

Imagine that the Celtic Tiger had started just a few years later and was still going strong. We would now be heading into 2016 in the same spirit that prevailed in the country during that all-too-brief period of prosperity and promise. We'd be self-confident, happy, on top of the world. Instead the recession left us unsettled, dissatisfied.

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It's tempting to say that the centenary of the Easter Rising couldn't have come at a worse time, but things are undoubtedly getting better. Had the Rising happened in 1910, the centenary 100 years later would have found us in an even more fractious mood. Ireland does still feel at times like a country in the grip of a midlife crisis, as if embodying on a national scale the opening lines of 13th-century Italian poet Dante's Inferno: "In the middle of the journey of my life, I found myself in a dark wood where the straight way was lost."

We're not a young country any more, but a mature democracy with a settled place in the world; we surely should not be so lacking in self-belief when we're slowly but surely coming out of that dark wood.

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