Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: Ireland has changed hugely but have we somehow lost touch with reality?

Mattie Fox

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Mattie Fox

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Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: Ireland has changed hugely but have we somehow lost touch with reality?

Once again, it’s autumn weather after a summer of rare heat and high temperatures.

We returned to Ireland on Monday, September 24 and found the chill had become sharp, and very crisp.

An Irish autumn.

The heart is warmed in Ireland at this time of year, and enjoying our temperate climate, although that too seems destined to change.

Ireland has undergone incredible change in the past few decades.

Some wonderful things have taken place, and many good changes have occurred. But alongside there are many where our sense of common sense has wilted enormously.

Socially, we’re all operating at times in a vacuum of indecision.

We hesitate when talking to any child.

Fearful of even shaking hands or giving them a little money to spend, lest it would be interpreted as some sort of grooming.

A man touching a lady is almost verboten and when it does happen, involuntarily, awkwardness is the end result, at least for a few seconds. Thankfully we haven’t entirely lost the sense of reason, so rarely does the act spark a response.

But nonetheless, it’s surely taking political correctness too far when at normal everyday events people are reluctant to express themselves in a genuinely friendly, ordinary, fashion.

I watched a nice, natural, act take place recently, when a good friend happened to put his arm around some lady in the friendliest and most sincere way, and she responded in like fashion.

A normal interaction, on a normal night, in a normal place, being expressed by two genuinely sincere people.

Both of whom, I’d suggest, were positively moved by the exchange.

Ireland is gripped by the great need to observe political correctness, but it’s hardly politically correct to stop shaking a child’s hand who is in the care of parents, or to stop touching any person, of any sex, for fear of being accused of some leaning or other. What if a man hugs another, is that prone to being examined?

Or if a girl hugs another girl, will that start the rumour mill rolling? Perish the thought that anyone would dare kiss anyone because that is likely to almost result in cries of assault!

I think it’s very much time we considered our natural inclinations, and time to return to some level of interpersonal relationships that are part of what we are.

It’s all gone much too far. A little balance wouldn’t go astray.