How we react to the news speaks volumes of our own quirks

The Way I See it - Fr Michael Commane

What percentage of news is entertainment? I listen to RTÉ's Morning Ireland most days. Why? Is it to be informed, entertained or both?

Over the last few months we have been Brexited-to-death. It's been wall-to-wall and even the most avid news nerds have had a surfeit of it.

Naturally local news will be quicker to attract our attention than news about something that happens far away. A train crash at Cherryville Junction will mean more to us than one at Eschede in Germany.

In the days leading up to Easter there was wall-to-wall coverage reporting on the findings of the interim report of the Commission of Investigation of the Mother and Baby Homes.

I got to the stage where I could not take any more and simply turned off the radio. I often get angry with State agencies and the institutional Church. I think of all the nonsense the Church can spout and then this behaviour. Its concentration on matters sexual when it itself has enormous problems and issues at its own hall door is annoying.

When we are familiar with some news item we are naturally interested on the take it is given by the media.

Before Easter Ryan Tubridy on his radio show made a reference to the historicity of Jesus and within two minutes he was talking about the fire at Notre Dame and mentioned 'Louis XIX'. It came across as if he might be doubting the historical Jesus but in the same breath he associated a non-existent 'Louis XIX' with Notre Dame. I have to admit that he quickly spotted he may have been incorrectly reading his cue, checked himself and spoke of Louis IX.

So much news washes over our heads. Sometimes we get annoyed, other times we laugh, more times our curiosity forces us to pay attention.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris is seldom out of the news. He has some stock words and phrases that I find irritating. Maybe I'm jealous of his youth. But most times I have no particular or personal reason to be interested in matters of health. Fortunately, I am a relatively healthy person and seldom visit hospitals or consultants.

In the last few days I have had to make an appointment to see a medical consultant. One of the first questions I was asked when making the appointment was if I had personal medical insurance.

The phone conversation I had with the doctor's consultant went pear-shaped but happily it got back to an even keel and we both ended up sharing a joke and laughing.

On that phone call it came home to me the terror of what it must be like in Ireland if citizens of this republic do not have private medical insurance. Imagine to learn that if you have private medical insurance you can be seen within weeks but alas if you do not have private medical insurance, one would have to wait until 2020. I was so incensed with that, that I have forgotten what month in 2020 it would be.

I am back thinking of Simon Harris strutting about and giving the impression that this is a great little republic where everything is fine and dandy.

We were terrible blackguards in the past but we are super-great now. Back then we were cave-people, now we are sophisticates. We know it all now. What a nonsense.

News is a funny old thing. But when the news is relevant to us we sure can react and sometimes get very angry.