Home Columnists Mary Theresa Lowndes: Golf shindig in Clifden and subsequent fallout

Mary Theresa Lowndes: Golf shindig in Clifden and subsequent fallout

What would we do without good journalism?

Gradually over the last number of years we found out about the abuse in the church, the Magdalene Laundries and the industrial schools. We found out about the barefaced corruption in banks and government. We found out about white collar crime and how most white collar criminals got away with it because many of them are untouchable.

Without good journalists we may not have found out about the golf shindig in Clifden first highlighted in the Irish Examiner.

A shindig made up of over eighty members of the elite in society. People like medical doctor Michael Harty, Supreme Court judge and former Attorney General Seamus Woulfe, the now former EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan, Dara Calleary who resigned his post as Minister for Agriculture and Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer the Leas Cathaoirleach of the Seanad who has resigned from that post.

The elite who attended this shindig had no respect for the common people or for public health guidelines.

Most of us do our best to follow the public health guidelines. We know this virus is lethal. Many have died alone with no family member by their side.

Many who survived are suffering long term damage to their health. People couldn’t see their grandchildren for months. People lost jobs and businesses had to close. Schools had to close. There was a massive increase in domestic violence. Medical screening was postponed and the elderly became prisoners in their own homes.

Mental health problems have increased. During this very serious and ongoing pandemic we looked up to these elite people to guide us and be role models. They have let us down. They all knew what they were doing. It was not a genuine mistake or an error of judgement as some of them claim.

When caught out some of them apologised but Phil Hogan was very defiant and the Taoiseach had to suggest that he respond. This does not surprise me at all.

I discovered an article by Daniel McConnell writing in the Independent March 2013 which states: “Phil Hogan, the Environment Minister, has branded the Sunday Independent and another newspaper as ‘knackers’ and threatened to ‘put manners’ on us for publishing pictures of himself and his now former press secretary in Doha on Budget day.”

This is appalling language from a public representative or from anyone. The word knacker was often used as a brutal insulting term towards our traveller community. It is a horrible word and should never ever be used. But Hogan didn’t mind using it.

And according to media reports Hogan stopped off at his apartment in Kildare on his way to the shindig even though Kildare was in lockdown. And he was caught by a garda using his mobile phone while driving in Kildare and only got a caution.

The HSE clearly states that one must restrict their movements for fourteen days after arriving in Ireland from a country not on the Covid-19 green list even if you were tested and the test was negative.

But Phil Hogan stated on RTE that he didn’t accept this. He arrived in Ireland on July 31st and August 5th he tested negative for the virus and he thought that he was free to go. No wonder ordinary people are angry. The story continued culminating in the resignation of Phil Hogan.

I have no trust at all in politics now and I have no trust in any of the elite in society. Years ago I was Fianna Fail crazy. I was terrified that George Colley would become leader of the party and not Charlie Haughey.

I even had the single Charlie’s song ‘Arise and follow Charlie’. I blared it on the record player. I thought Charlie was the greatest thing since sliced pan. I have learned a lot since then.

Until recently us poor peasants bowed and bobbed to the elite. But the days of the bowing and the bobbing are well gone now lads.

You have let us down, you have laughed into our faces and you have proven that you are not to be trusted. But one terrible fallout from this is that many people will not obey guidelines now.

Some people are saying it is one law for them and a different law for us. Also there was a large attendance of angry people at an anti mask and anti lockdown protest in Dublin Saturday 22nd which should not have taken place.

The virus loves a large gathering like that and it is obvious that the protesters have no care for either their own health or the health of their family and friends.

We must obey the public health guidelines if we are to ever get rid of this virus. And the elite must obey them too. Avoid crowds, keep your distance, practice good hand and cough hygiene and wear the mask.

But the government needs to do more. They should be very very strict on all people coming into the country and have very strict quarantine measures in place.

The schools should not have opened just yet. The government, both this one and the last one neglected the factories, the direct provision centres and the nursing homes.

Many infections and deaths could have been avoided. And to the elite in the country for goodness sake behave yourselves and show some respect.

SEE ALSO – Laois doctor urges parents not ‘to dose’ children in order to send them to school

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Mary Theresa Lowndes describes herself as a 'Golden Oldie' living in her 60s. She went to college late in life as a mature students and has a degree in Sociology and Social Policy from Trinity College and a masters in journalism from DIT.