High-profile speakers did not hold back at the 33rd MacGill Summer School in Glenties this week.
Whether the topic was politics, finance, arts, health, education or the state of our society, there were no shrinking violets.
Not surprisingly, some of the harshest criticism came from opposition politicians. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin accused the government, “elected with an unprecedented majority and on the promise of radical action”, of a “failure to show any interest in real reform”.
The Oireachtas, he said, “needs to be freed from the absolute control which government currently has on its work”.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams argued that successive governments had failed to create the Republic envisaged by those who wrote the Proclamation.
Actress Mary McEvoy also took a dim view of our current situation. “If you are not depressed and anxious in the modern world we have created, then you really are crazy.” She said: “We have allowed technology to override our humanity....The demise of religion has led to a loss of moral compass.”
Health Minister James Reilly offered some positives, including a “more efficient single-tier model of health care” under a proposed new “universal health insurance”. He said free GP care for children is on the cards. “I do not want any parent to be in a position where they have to decide between buying the groceries and bringing their child to the doctor.” He is proposing the online publication of consultants’ waiting lists and death and disease rates among people treated by specific hospital consultants.
Footage from this year is at http://www.donegalcoco.public-i.tv/core/.