The Donegal Democrat launched a commemorative book called ‘Donegal 1992, History Makers’ in the Abbey Hotel last Thursday evening. The 180 pages are full of nostalgia. It is a beautifully presented publication with many photographs and articles which capture the lead up to the All-Ireland final and the euphoric celebrations twenty-five years ago.
Peter Quinn who was President of the GAA at that time was guest of honour on the night and he evoked great memories during his speech. It was great to mingle with former playing colleagues as well as those die-hard supporters who endured many hardships through the years but were so grateful that the 1992 squad who eventually made the breakthrough.
It was particularly pleasing to meet Danny McMenamin formerly of Magees who kitted us out 25 years ago. Magees again came up trumps a few weeks ago when they again provided the squad with suits for the Ulster final. I know that the players and backroom staff are very grateful for Magees magnanimous gesture. The book is available in many retail outlets and is great value at only €10.
Twenty-five years slips by so quickly and easily. Ireland has changed dramatically on many fronts since then. Gaelic football has evolved into a game that is barely recognisable from quarter of a century ago. The so-called big guns have detached themselves from the rest. The entertainment value has declined and professionalism without paid professionals is commonplace. 25 years before 1992, the counterculture movement began. This was a way of life and set of attitudes opposed to or at variance with the prevailing social norm. It started in the States and UK but, the rest of western civilisation was soon to follow. Free love, sexual promiscuity, occultism and drug usage were synonymous with the hippies of that time. By the way, the Beatles had a song out at that time called Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (LSD). You can make your own inference from this. Many hippies rejected mainstream organized religion in favour of a more personal spiritual experience. Although the hippies have all but vanished, this past ten years has seen a more subtle and silent counterculture revolution taking shape.
There has seen a vast change in our society which is largely due to what is called ‘relativism’ i.e. there is no objective truth. “It’s up to you, it’s your choice. If you believe it’s right, it is right for you. Who am I to preach about morality”? This is the prevailing attitude. It all sounds so nice. It doesn’t work. The moral compass has been ditched. Our culture is one of confusion, disarray and disorder where almost anything is acceptable. The world is certainly a different place in 2017. Pornography is rampant, fifty million surgical abortions a year, so-called same-sex marriage, widespread divorce, cohabitation, an upsurge in crime and corruption. Transgenderism is currently a major issue in America. Bruce Jenner won the decathlon in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. He has since become a woman called Caitlyn Jenner. No matter what transformative surgery he has had done, he is still biologically a man. He said “I’m the new normal” in his documentary ‘I’m Cait’. We are being forced to accept this behaviour by minority lobby groups and the mainstream media.
Recently, pro-abortion activists draped a pro-abortion sweater over the altar in a Catholic Church in Inchicore, Dublin. If this happened in a mosque, I wonder what the consequences would have been. We joined the European Economic Community in 1973, the same year that Norma McCorvey, a 21- year-old pregnant illiterate woman was exploited by a lawyer called Linda Coffee to legalise abortion in the U.S. Coffee gave McCorvey the pseudonym ‘Jane Roe.’ The state prosecutor was Henry Wade. Thus, the case became known as Roe v Wade. It is interesting to note that Norma McCorvey never had an abortion and actually became a strong advocate for life of the unborn. Since our involvement in Europe, we have had to pander to their demands of their liberal and secular ideals. Donald Trump has promised to overturn the Roe V Wade decision. He certainly does not pander to the liberal left and is despised for his stance.
Yes, the world and indeed Ireland has changed much in recent times. I’m not an expert in mental illness but I know that it is on the increase, especially amongst our young generation. I witness this shift first-hand through my profession and especially since I talked about my own battle with depression in my autobiography. Countless parents and young people have since contacted me in relation to mental illness. I believe that we need to tackle the core issues in a society that is struggling to put a meaning into life. Marriage and the family are under severe attack. Family is the fundamental building block of all human civilizations, and marriage is the foundation of the family. The institution of marriage is unquestionably good for individuals and society, and the health of our culture is intimately linked to the health and well-being of marriage. The facts must be stated. Dr. David Popenoe, author of Life Without Father: Compelling New Evidence that Fatherhood and Marriage are Indispensable to the Good of Children and Society, writes that, "The two sexes are different to the core, and each is necessary – culturally and biologically – for the optimal development of a human being."
We live in a culture of “nice”; afraid to offend anyone and whatever you want to do, it’s ok. I recently found a young man slumped over the steering wheel of his idling car at the front of my home. When I got him wakened, he was aggressive and obnoxious. Eventually, I convinced him to come into my house to have a cup of coffee. He collapsed emotionally and began to sob. He told me that he thought he was depressed and needed help. It was a very disturbing experience. He wanted to die by suicide that day. “We don’t talk at home” he said. I wonder how many more youngsters are out there going through the same turmoil. I am blessed to have lived in a generation where the family unit kept most of us on the straight and narrow. Like everyone else, I made mistakes and erred. Thank God for sport and especially the GAA. God knows how I would have ended up without them.
Keep the faith!