Forgive us for neglecting you…

Ireland is suffering an epidemic of road accidents which are claiming the lives of young people – in the most recent, four young men died in a head on collision in Co Monaghan. One of the papers claimed to have taken a photo of the speedometer of one of the cars frozen at 140 mph. At the funeral of two of the victims yesterday, Fr Martin O’Reilly, Youth Director for the Diocese of Clogher, made an extraordinarily passionate statement about how Irish society has neglected its young while it has got on with the Celtic Tiger economy. ‘We have thrown everything at you except our time. Forgive us for neglecting you …’

Extraordinary .. There can’t be a single cause for such a thing – any more than there is a single cause for the epidemic of suicides of young people in Northern Ireland. But maybe when you put together an undreamt-of prosperity and the secularisation which accompanies it, the collapse of the Catholic Church as a significant upholder of moral values and the unprecedented strains on family life which go with rapid social change … maybe it’s not surprising that the strain shows somewhere.

It makes you ponder where a society is to find its stability – for prosperity is no substitute for relationships

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