On­line abuse of Cos­grave was dis­gust­ing

Drogheda Independent - - OPINION - With Dar­ragh Clif­ford

IF so­cial me­dia is the win­dow into the soul of our coun­try, then God help us all. In the wake of the pass­ing of for­mer Taoiseach Liam Cos­grave, a county coun­cil­lor from a party in op­po­si­tion posted a pic­ture of Cos­grave and made ref­er­ence to the proud Ir­ish tra­di­tion of not speak­ing ill of the dead.

He then went on to make a num­ber of crit­i­cal ob­ser­va­tions about Cos­grave’s ten­ure as Taoiseach. Fair enough – the lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive is en­ti­tled to his opin­ion and while I wouldn’t agree with much of what he had to say, he made his point in a re­spect­ful man­ner.

How­ever, there was an el­e­ment to some of the com­ments on this post which, quite frankly, sad­dened and sick­ened me.

The lan­guage used by some of the posters was dis­gust­ing, hor­rific and in some cases, down­right vi­o­lent. They do not need re­peat­ing on th­ese pages.

What kind of so­ci­ety have we be­come where peo­ple think it is ap­pro­pri­ate to use such lan­guage on a pub­lic plat­form about a for­mer leader of this coun­try who had just died at the age of 97?

What kind of ex­am­ple are we set­ting for our chil­dren if we al­low such be­hav­iour to be­come ac­cept­able?

Re­spect­ful, in­tel­li­gent po­lit­i­cal dis­course should be wel­comed and en­cour­aged. Our politi­cians should al­ways be held ac­count­able. We ex­pect the high­est of stan­dards from them – but the same rule should ap­ply to ev­ery­one.

Liam Cos­grave was Taoiseach dur­ing a tur­bu­lent and dif­fi­cult pe­riod in Ir­ish his­tory. Dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions had to be made, but Cos­grave be­lieved fully that th­ese de­ci­sions were be­ing made in the best in­ter­ests of our coun­try.

Some of th­ese de­ci­sions proved im­mensely un­pop­u­lar, hence the heavy gen­eral elec­tion de­feat of 1977. But I would hope that the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple who voted Cos­grave out of of­fice in 1977 would be ap­palled by the vile on­line abuse di­rected at the 97-year-old be­fore his fu­neral had even taken place.

I re­ally do hope we are bet­ter than this. I want to live in an Ire­land where such dis­gust­ing lan­guage has no place in pub­lic dis­course.

I want to live in an Ire­land where the vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple would look upon th­ese com­ments with dis­gust. An Ire­land where we are united in our op­po­si­tion to such be­hav­iour.

Now that’s a united Ire­land to be proud of.

THE LATE LIAM COS­GRAVE, PIC­TURED IN 2014.

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