OPINION

Pat McArt: So what stood out for you in 2017?

My list of all things memorable from last year

Pat McArt

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Pat McArt

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Pat McArt

Pat McArt

Without reverting to Google I tried to think off the top of my head the things that made 2017 memorable for me - Leo Varadkar being elected Taoiseach, the death of Martin McGuinness, massive flooding in Inishowen, Brexit vote in Britain, the inauguration of probably the most unfit person ever to hold the office of US president in Washington, an equally odd little man in North Korea exploding ballistic missiles at regular intervals, James McClean almost single handedly getting Ireland through to the Euro finals, and Shaun Doherty leaving Highland Radio after 25 years.
That's my list. I probably have left out a glaring, earth shattering event but there you go.
I could hardly have been accused of being a fan of the two Fine Gael led administrations - they most certainly, in my opinion, looked after the elite at the expense of the less well off - but I have grudging respect for both our new Taoiseach and his deputy, Simon Coveney as 2017 comes to a close.
That respect is based on a simple premise - they don't seem to have the same forelock tugging attitude so prevalent during the Kenny-Noonan era when if any gobshite from Europe or Britain came a calling our lads came a bowing and a scraping, like some 17th century servant attending his lord and master. That's enough to give them the thumbs up from me.
The North has gone back since the death of Martin McGuinness, but the finger of blame for that lies fairly and squarely with the DUP. I don't think there was a nationalist of any hue in the North who didn't support McGuinness' decision to call a halt to the charade at Stormont back in January.
You can only take arrogance and disrespect for so long; most people were actually surprised that McGuinness, the IRA hard man, put up with the crap for as long as he did.
For many people in Donegal the retirement of Shaun Doherty was a major event. For 25 years he had been, for many, a constant companion, a trusted voice who came into their homes on almost a daily basis. As someone said, he was our own Terry Wogan.
As for the rest there's not much point in repeating what I have already said a million times.

Irish Honours
I note my name was missing from the New Year's Honours List once again. I thought the Queen or Theresa May could have thrown me an oul knighthood or some Order of the Garter or whatever but nope, disappointed again.
The British system is corrupt beyond belief - if you donate heavily to the ruling party in government a Lordship or a Knighthood is almost guaranteed - but the idea is, all the same, not without merit.
Maybe in Ireland we could have a civic roll of honour for unsung heroes, people who pass under the radar but who do great work in their communities. It could be organised at a county level and then overall awards made at a national level.
What do you think?

Shocking admission
One of the most shocking incidents during the Troubles was the UVF murders of members of the Miami Showband. State papers on the incident were released on Friday last under the 'Thirty Year rule' which obliges the government to share state knowledge with the public.
Stephen Travers, a member of the band, went on Twitter to express outrage that his own government had known for three decades that the UVF were supplied with the bombs used in the incident and not only had they not made this public, they had not even told him. He woke up, literally, on Friday to read about it.
No one can excuse a lot of what the IRA got up to back in the day, but there was a hell of a lot of hypocrisy on the part of some of our politicians back then who went out of their way to criticise republicans, but kept stum about the nefarious activities of the British and the Loyalists.

Dressed for the occasion
A member of my family was celebrating a birthday so we were all in Letterkenny on Friday night.
There was, seemingly, a teenage disco on somewhere because there were kids everywhere. What was odd was that it was a freezing cold night and there were these young girls dressed in clothing that was, to put it mildly, not suitable for outdoor wear. My particular favourite, pointed out by my daughter in law, was a girl of about 15 walking precariously on high heels.
You could see by her stride that her efforts were worthy of an Olympic medal for balance.


Long Christmas
Don't know about you but Christmas seems to have dragged on this year. Maybe it's the weather but when I get up and look out the window it's always grey and bleak, and all I feel is like doing is getting back in to bed and pulling the clothes up around me.
And let's not talk about eating and drinking! Every pair of trousers that were loose before Christmas now needs an expansion plan.
And I had such plans to be moderate and considerate in every aspect ...

Hi-tech stupidity

According to Sky News at the weekend almost 50% of parents don't know what their children are doing online, or even who they are talking to. It's something people really should get a grip on.
The predators, and there are a lot of them about, seem to be the only ones ahead of the game.
The rapid growth in technology - bet every house with a child has an additional hi-tech gadget this Christmas - has left many parents floundering, not having a hope in hell in understanding, much less monitoring, what's exactly going on with their children while on screen.
Maybe it's time for the authorities in education and health got classes under way to educate parents on how to keep up, on how to keep their children safe.
I'm not bashing for the sake of bashing here.
There are many advantage to technology which we should embrace, see as a positive but there should be rules too. After all, you can't drive through traffic lights when you feel like it....why should your children be exposed to similar danger online?

And finally
As Bob Dylan once wrote, 'May God bless and keep you always, and may your wishes all come true' ...I hope 2018 will be a better year for you all in every way than the one that has just passed.
Happy New Year to you all.

Pat McArt's weekly column, Pat's Patch runs in the Donegal Democrat/Donegal People's Press in our Tuesday edition.