The day Emma stopped our world
There are moments when the testimony of an individual can be so utterly compelling that it has the power to stop a nation in its tracks and illuminate an outrage that is so devoid of common decency, so completely lacking in basic humanity, that the public as one demands immediate action be taken to rectify a fundamental wrong.
The emotional television interview by Gordon Wilson, a humble draper from Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, after the Provisional IRA murdered his daughter Marie in November, 1987, was such a moment. The RTE radio interview of Emma Mhic Mhathuna last week was another. The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, perhaps summed up best the impact of the Ms Mhic Mhathuna interview when he said his "world began to slow down and then stop" last Thursday morning, and also that it makes ministers reflect on their obligations as members of Government and TDs as members of Dail Eireann.
The BBC would later describe the Enniskillen bombing as a turning point in the Troubles in Northern Ireland because the murderous attack had shaken the IRA "to its core". It is tempting to hope that Ms Mhic Mhathuna's interview will be another such moment for the long inadequate health services in Ireland, but as we know hope springs eternal.