The Way I See It

By Domhnall de Barra

Maybe it is my age but I can’t help thinking the world is going mad. Several events cause me to think this way, the latest being the “sanitisation”  of children’s books to make them more PC. The books of Roald Dahl have already been doctored but I was glad to see that the original ones will also be available. This idea of shielding children from any hint of controversial content is foolish. The world is not a nice fluffy place where little furry animals frolic in the sunshine every day and where people are always nice to each other. The real world is a dangerous place and we would do well to prepare our children for it. We can shield them all we like but we cannot control what happens in the playground at school which is where they really learn about life. I have great sympathy for children today who grow up far too fast. In bygone days children enjoyed being children until they reached their teenage years but now there is pressure on them to be “grown up”  well before they finish primary school. The lucky ones will get their education from the parents but others are not so lucky and will gain their knowledge from schoolmates or from the mobile phones they are now permanently attached to. I think the mobile phone is  a great invention and ensures kids can keep in contact with parents at all times but there is no limit to the amount of harmful content they can access long before they are mature enough to digest it. Social media is a great hiding place for bullies who can do mental damage to vulnerable young people with anonymity. There should be hard and fast rules about the use of the internet and the amount of time spent on the small screen. Go into any waiting room at a bus or railway station or anywhere people congregate and guaranteed 90% of the people there are on their phones scrolling or texting. They are living life in a surreal world not realising that half of what they read is false. I ceased to open Facebook a long time ago because of the ridiculous things people post. I have no desire to know what somebody had for breakfast or look at numerous photos of them acting the egit. I know it has its uses but I don’t have the inclination or patience to wade through all the rubbish to get to the good bits. Unfortunately many people believe what they see, which is why there is a good living for “influencers”. These are people, well known, who promote certain products on line extolling their virtues despite the fact that they may not be using them themselves. There is also, of course, the conspiracy theorists who present a very persuasive case online. They will have their theories supported by testimony from so-called experts who will have impressive credentials. These should be taken with a pinch of salt because, especially in the US, degrees can be bought online if you have enough money. My point is that this is all too much for six, seven and eight year olds who may think they are very grown up but are not equipped to deal with adult life. Parents, teachers and government officials have a duty to ensure children are not subjected to harmful content on their phones and please let them enjoy their childhood. Soon enough they will have to deal with adult life which is not always a bed of roses.

I wrote lately about man’s inhumanity to man and we know only too well what happened in the past with the likes of Hitler, Cromwell and recently, Putin but we don’t have to leave our own shores for examples of war crimes and terrible atrocities.  100 years ago the civil war in Ireland was coming towards an end, if it ever really did end. What happened at places like Ballyseedy where members of the IRA who were already in custody, were tied to a mine and blown to pieces by the army of the Free State. There was pressure on the army to quell the opposition to the treaty and orders came from on high to use whatever force was necessary to achieve this objective. It became policy to use prisoners to clear land mines, mines that had been placed by the army themselves. What happened in Ballyseedy was not, unfortunately, an isolated incident in a shameful chapter in our history. The other side were not squeaky clean either but two wrongs don’t make a right and the fact that the state was involved at the highest level shows that we are all capable of terrible deeds. The people on both sides were neighbours, cousins, even members of the same family and they all believed they were fighting for the right cause. We can’t go back and change anything now but we can ensure that our country never again commits crimes against its own people. That civil war gave us two parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, that dominated the political scene for decades but the rise of Sinn Féin may very well put a stop to that. I remember general elections long ago that caused rows between neighbours. There were two families living by a cross just over the road from me. If Fianna Fáil won the election one of the families would light a bonfire at the cross and the other family would come out and throw water over it. The same happened in reverse in Fine Gael came out on top. The IRA were never completely defeated in the Civil War and remained in the background. They had quite a following during the troubles in the North and were forever robbing banks  to create funds for the war. The Good Friday Agreement should have brought an end to their existence but there is still a hard rump that are ready to commit crimes against the British establishment. They do not, however have any great backing in the community and are rightly condemned by all sides. The day will come when Ireland, North and South will be one country but the time is not right yet. The people in the North have a better quality of life than we have down here, especially when you look at the cost of living and the availability of housing so until we get our house in order the status quo will be maintained.

The death has occurred of  Mrs Margaret (Phyllis) French, nee Sullivan, who passed away in England on the 1st March. She was originally from Athea and resided for many years in Canning Town, London. Condolences to her daughters Donna and Jo and their families and to all of her family in Ireland R.I.P. Phyllis rest in God’s hands now.

St. Bartholomew’s Church Athea

Athea Church Notices

Mass Intentions next weekend Sun Mar 19th at 11am: Mary (Babe) & Tom White. Nora O’Connell.

Nora & Sonny Hurley. Con O’Connor. Mary O’ Halloran. Sean & Margaret Somers. John Tom and Bridie Scanlon.

Ministers of the Word: Mar 17th Denise O’Riordan. Mar 19th Mary McGrath & Alanna Collins.

Ministers of the Eucharist:  Mar 17th Mary Dalton & Angela Brouder O’Byrne.

Mar 19th Margaret Ahern & Catherine Woulfe

Weekday Mass this week:  Tuesday Mar 14th 9.30 am followed by Eucharistic Adoration and the Devine Mercy Chaplet. Mar 17th Feast of St. Patrick – Mass at 11am.

All masses are streamed live on https://www,churchservices.tv/athea

Baptisms on the 4th Sunday of the month at 12noon. Next baptism course on Tues Mar 14th.

Parish Office: Mon-Fri 11am-1pm. Call 087-3331459 or email [email protected]

A selection of Mass Bouquet Cards is available through the Sacristy/Parish Office – the list

Includes mass cards for the dead and the living, Get well, Special Occasion, Exams, Communion and


Lourdes Youth Pilgrimage 2023 (22nd – 27th June). For booking details contact Karen at 061-350000 or email at [email protected]

Limerick Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes 2023. Led by Bishop Brendan Leahy.  Direct return flights from Shannon to Lourdes. For booking contact Joe Walsh Tours, Telephone 01-2410800 or email [email protected] €879 per person, full board, all taxes included. Full religious programme.