Sunday 15 July 2018

Online abuse of Cosgrave was disgusting

The late Liam Cosgrave, pictured in 2014
The late Liam Cosgrave, pictured in 2014

Darragh Clifford - Straight Talking

If social media is the window into the soul of our country, then God help us all.

In the wake of the passing of former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, a county councillor from a party in opposition posted a picture of Cosgrave and made reference to the proud Irish tradition of not speaking ill of the dead.

He then went on to make a number of critical observations about Cosgrave's tenure as Taoiseach. Fair enough - the local representative is entitled to his opinion and while I wouldn't agree with much of what he had to say, he made his point in a respectful manner.

However, there was an element to some of the comments on this post which, quite frankly, saddened and sickened me.

The language used by some of the posters was disgusting, horrific and in some cases, downright violent. They do not need repeating on these pages.

What kind of society have we become where people think it is appropriate to use such language on a public platform about a former leader of this country who had just died at the age of 97?

What kind of example are we setting for our children if we allow such behaviour to become acceptable?

Respectful, intelligent political discourse should be welcomed and encouraged. Our politicians should always be held accountable. We expect the highest of standards from them - but the same rule should apply to everyone.

Liam Cosgrave was Taoiseach during a turbulent and difficult period in Irish history. Difficult decisions had to be made, but Cosgrave believed fully that these decisions were being made in the best interests of our country.

Some of these decisions proved immensely unpopular, hence the heavy general election defeat of 1977. But I would hope that the majority of people who voted Cosgrave out of office in 1977 would be appalled by the vile online abuse directed at the 97-year-old before his funeral had even taken place.

I really do hope we are better than this. I want to live in an Ireland where such disgusting language has no place in public discourse.

I want to live in an Ireland where the vast majority of people would look upon these comments with disgust. An Ireland where we are united in our opposition to such behaviour.

Now that's a united Ireland to be proud of.

Enniscorthy Guardian