READ THE REID: There's light in dark times - you just have to be brave

READ THE REID: There's light in dark times - you just have to be brave

Tell me what you want, what you really really want. A ticket to see the Spice Girls in Croke Park on the 24th May, 2019 or a victory for Gaoth Dobhair in the Ulster Senior club final?

The world, including little modern Ireland, has gone mad.

Did you know that you can adopt an elephant for $25 up to $250? National Geographic tells us that the elephant is an endangered species. “Around 55 African elephants are killed a day” according to wwf.org.uk.

And yes, we have the option of adopting a goat according to the IPSCA. I kid you not!

These are all noble causes indeed and I too am an animal lover. We humans are an endangered species too. Approximately 160,000 of us are killed every day and that’s not including those killed in wars.

However, we have more important issues to deal with to keep us occupied and disinterested.

The Central Council of the GAA sanctioned new guidelines in relation to kickouts, side-line kicks, hand passing, a ‘sin bin’ and the mark last Saturday at a meeting in Croke Park. The experimental rule changes will be tried out in provincial pre-season competitions and in the National Football Leagues.

The GAA recognises that our game has disintegrated at inter-county level. And something had to be done. There is no other sport that makes so many changes year on year which is disconcerting for the players, managers/coaches and the paying public. I hope that the changes work out for all concerned.

The underlying problems for the GAA are deep rooted. The focus on success and winning has eclipsed everything else, such as enjoyment, entertainment, social well-being and a love of the game.

It is a mirror image of life. Elite sport and daily living are pressure cookers. There’s an over saturation of sport on our televisions and a constant push by advertisers to tell us that we need to have this and that.

‘Black Friday’ has just passed but, every day is black Friday. We just don’t see it.

The push is on now for us to spend money in the lead up to Christmas. On St. Stephen’s Day, the sales begin, soon to be followed by adverts for summer holidays. We aren’t given breathing space.

One of the most popular items that is sold to us is smart phones. The Daily Mail.co.uk published an article on 2nd November with the heading ‘Smartphone and tablets are causing mental health problems in children as young as two by crushing their curiosity and making them anxious’.

Shocking world

Yes, we live in a mad and shocking world. Sport, television and the Spice Girls may act as distractions but our society is in despair.

We all like to shield ourselves from the reality of those bad things that are so prevalent today. A recent survey conducted by the OECD and published in the annual Health at a Glance report said that Ireland has one of the highest rates of mental health illness in Europe. We rank joint third.

Mental health problems cost the Irish economy over € 8.2 billion a year. Eighteen and a half percent of our Irish population was recorded as having a mental health disorder, such as anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, or alcohol or drug use. Welcome to enlightened, progressive, modern and liberal Ireland.

We lost our identity, our sovereignty, our fishing rights and turned our farms into bird sanctuaries when we joined Europe.

Our politicians have no control over Ireland. They do as they’re told by the ruling elite of Europe. Any opposition to their imposed ideology is crushed. We voted against the Lisbon Treaty initially. We were told to vote again. Our government directed by Europe delivered the required result. So here we are.

It frustrates me that I and indeed all us have been manipulated and conditioned for so long. I was busy and consumed though, by my adventures with Donegal Gaelic football. I have absolutely no regrets. I am now thankful that I can put football where it belongs and that it, like any pastime, has parameters and must be put into context.

I experienced both ends of the spectrum with extreme exhilaration when Donegal won their first All-Ireland in 1992 to deep depression in 1998 when I stood on a bridge in north eastern Romania contemplating suicide. I was given the best possible lesson in life.

There’s a fine line between triumphalism and elation and between confidence and arrogance. I now know the difference.

I also know that we live in a confused, subordinate, conforming and dumbed down society where we have to be “nice”.

Don’t speak or write something that may oppose the enforced politically correct narrative in case you cause offence.

There’s light though in these dark times. Many people are finding courage to ask questions and speak out and disagree with the philosophy that ‘might is right’.

Hang on: there’s an elephant in the room. Oh, it’s the one that I adopted from the lovely lady with the soft voice on the tv advert.

Thank God (no apologies for causing offence) for the remnant.

Good luck to Gaoth Dobhair, and as always, keep the faith!