Tuesday 24 October 2017

Carol Hunt: Charity and empathy are no match for our malaise

There's no excuse for allowing the authorities to continue to treat our most vulnerable citizens so badly

Carol Hunt

Carol Hunt

IT WAS the complacency with which the comment was accepted as God's truth that jarred. "But," said a panellist smoothly on last Sunday's Marian Finucane Show on RTE Radio One, "we are a caring nation." There were murmurs of agreement all round. The latest scandal – the psychological and, in some cases, physical, abuse of children in Irish creches – was an aberration, a quirk, an accidental hiccup in this, the most "caring of societies". There may be other people out there doing scandalous things which "we" didn't know about, but it's hardly "our" fault, is it?

In case anyone else had noted the unquestioning manner in which our societal caring gene had been accepted a priori by Finucane's panel, I tweeted (a little rattily): "We are NOT a caring nation."

Naturally, quite a few disagreed. Many had worked with or had experience of extremely kind and caring people, I was told. And I don't doubt it. There are a great many good and kind individuals in our midst: the nurse who stays late to keep a sick child company; the teacher who gives up his afternoons to coach soccer; the many volunteers all over the country who freely devote their time and energies to GAA or charities.

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