The Way I See It

By Domhnall de Barra

The recent election in France is further evidence of the increasing polarisation of politics throughout the world. Both left wing and right wing parties have gained ground at the expense of the centrist party and the future is anything but rosy for Macron and his minority government. We can see the same trends in other countries, particularly in the US where Conservatives and Republicans don’t seem to be able to agree on anything. The UK is much the same with the Euro-sceptic Tory party on one side and  the left led by Labour on the other. We have it ourselves in Northern Ireland where the DUP are prepared  to hold the people to ransom if they don’t get their way with the scrapping of the Protocol. Why has politics become so polarised?  Successive governments have pandered to big business and private enterprise at the expense of the working classes. People are not stupid anymore and can see clearly the injustice in the system. Once upon a time countries were ruled by kings and queens and the average peasant had no say whatsoever in how they were governed. They were there to work on the estates for the aristocracy and fill their armies when they needed to go to war. Eventually they got fed up and  we had the revolutions in Russia and in France that got rid of the rulers and placed power in the hands of the people for the first time. Gradually other countries followed suit even though some kept the monarchy as a kind of figurehead, as they did in the UK. Unfortunately, though the idea of communism, that all are equal, is good but in practise those who came into power were often more brutal to the people than those they had replaced.  Somebody once said “democracy is a bad form of government but it is by far the best one we have”.  There is enough wealth in the world to feed everybody and insure nobody goes without but unfortunately most of the wealth is in the hands of a few people who have amassed vast fortunes through the capitalist system, a system that rewards greed and corruption. The system is justified by the idea that these ultra-rich people will create employment and that “a rising tide lifts all boats”  That may be true but what about the person who doesn’t own a boat ?.  There are too many of these in society who have been left behind and now they may see their best way forward as membership of an extreme political party. The rise of the far right in France is no accident and we will see more similar results going forward. Politics was brought to a new low by the actions of Donald Trump in America and Boris Johnson in the UK. It is difficult to see how they get away with it until you realise they are pandering to a section of the community that  feels disenfranchised . Trump appeals to gun toting white supremist gangs of the South, even the obnoxious KU Klux Klan while Johnson attracts the little Englanders who long for past glory and think they still rule the world. Those who hold the middle ground have to make changes in their approach and be more aware of what the real needs of people are.

The current problems in our own country are many but housing, health care and the rising cost of living are at the top of people’s priorities. It is easy to blame the war in Ukraine for everything but we have had problems in housing and health long before the hostilities broke out. A & E’s all over the country are overflowing onto corridors where patients can spend over twenty hours waiting. It simply is not good enough and the old habit of throwing money at the problem won’t make a difference. Why were so many hospitals closed throughout the country? Those beds are badly needed at the moment. Centres of excellence are a good idea but not when they are not able to cope with the demand. There is a shortage of staff as well and it is no wonder when the pay and conditions are taken into consideration. Nurses, who have gone through years of training, start at a pay rate of just over €30,000 a year and may reach a maximum of €51,000 in their lifetime. Is this ample remuneration for a skilled professional who is expected to work long and unsocial hours?  No wonder they are emigrating to countries where their services are appreciated and they can expect to earn multiples of what they get here. The same goes for doctors and consultants. The whole system needs a big overhaul and somebody has to have the courage to grasp the nettle because maintaining the status quo is not an option. The two tiered, private and public, system has to go. Your health care should not depend on the size of your purse. Everybody should have health insurance and pay for it according to personal means. I don’t think any of us would mind paying an extra bit of tax if we knew it would give us the health care necessary when we need it. There is no point in blaming the government, they inherited a mess that was created a long time ago and made worse by successive government inaction.

The same goes for housing. There is no point in thinking that we can click our fingers and suddenly thousands of houses will appear. It will take time but that time could be shortened if the planning process was overhauled and a lot of the useless red tape was scrapped. Local authorities should also forego the vast sums they charge for providing services to a building site. If somebody wants to build a house on their own land they could be looking at forking out €20,000 to €40,000 before they ever lay a block. Then there are the habitual objectors who live miles away but still can hold up progress by objecting to rural developments because they want to see us all live in towns. It is a time for action and we need real leaders to dig us out of the hole we have created for ourselves. They will be judged at the next election and be prepared for a great change.


Athea Parish Church Notices

Mass Intentions next weekend Sat June 25th 7.30pm:      Mary Margaret Barrett – South Gate London & Turaree Athea.    Patsy & Margaret Broderick and their daughter Eileen.

Readers:      Yvonne Roche & Alanna Collins

Eucharistic Ministers:    Mary Sheahan & Angela Brouder O’Byrne

Weekday Mass Times this coming week: Tuesday and Thursday morning 9.30am                                                    Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Devine Mercy Chaplet on Tuesday morning.

All masses can be viewed online via the following link

Parish office hours:   Mon – Fri 11am-1pm.                                                                                                            Contact Siobhán on 087-3331459 or email [email protected] – if you wish to book a mass, make an enquiry for a christening/wedding date, arrange a signed mass cards and all administration queries. The next baptism course will be on Tuesday June 12th July.

Sean Hanrahan, Norrie Stack and Nancy Woulfe with the Liam McCarthy Cup



Mick Ahern & Thady Hunt at the 100th Centenary Celebration of Athea N.S.




Sean Barrett, Anthony & Joan Hunt at the Athea School
Centenary Celebrations pictured with the McCarthy Cup.