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It's time for young people to grow up


THE BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE  Burrishoole supporters Peter McManamon and Peter Moran watch Sunday's match in Newport. Pic: Conor McKeown


Ger Flanagan

UTTER disappointment was the overriding emotion this week in the wake of the Government’s decision to take onboard the NPHET recommendation of not allowing crowds attend sporting events until at least the middle of September.
For so many being able to attend GAA and soccer matches over the past few weeks was a much-needed tonic to counteract the mental and physical fallout of the lockdown.
By and large there was high levels of compliance to the limits on crowds and the protocols and procedures around Covid-19 for attending sporting events. Supporters appreciated the need to stay between the adherence lines so not to compromise what, for so many, was their only real release or regular social interaction.
And as clusters arose in meat factories, direct provision centres and house parties across the country, the sporting events took place without any major incidents or concerns.
Yet yesterday that rug was pulled from everyone’s feet on the back of the Government announcement that all games will go behind closed doors. It was like the whole class getting punished because of the behaviour a couple of delinquents.
You could argue about the contradictions and lack of consistency in the new regulations all day, which will just lead to further frustration. The Government’s delivery of them was far from inspiring too and lacked any conviction.
Unfortunately and resulting from that, this latest move could potentially spark an even greater phycological and mental health fallout on the nation.
All week this writer reflected on what has led us to this point? What have the Government and NPHET not done to ensure we don’t go back into a second lockdown? Why are they picking on our beloved sport and not targeting the real areas of concern?
The more I pondered and the more disappointed I began to feel in the face of these new measures, it was hard not to enter into a much-needed period of self-reflection.
Maybe it was time to stop blaming the Government and public health experts and start pointing fingers at our ourselves, and our actions that have influenced the decisions at the top level.
And by ourselves I mean us young people – Generation Z, Millennials, Snowflakes, whatever you want to call us.
There’s no doubting the feeling of failure of this current Government and how their first couple of months in office has resembled a car crash, but it’s hard not to feel disappointed in my peers right now too.
The fact of the matter is that the numbers don’t lie. Up to 75 percent of new cases are young people, and 60 percent of transmissions are from close contact. Ireland now has the fourth highest rate of growth with the virus in Europe.
While young people – who experts say are the most vulnerable to psychological strain of lockdown – complied so diligently at first, all the signs are there right now that complacency is seeping in.
Maybe it’s time for young people to take a look in the mirror and ask themselves if they’ve let their guard down slightly in the past few weeks.

Social media
All you have to do is look through social media and you’ll find plenty of examples of just that.
It was disappointing, and downright embarrassing, to see what took place in that Dublin restaurant last week. A barman swinging from the ceiling like a chimpanzee in a zoo, pouring alcohol into whatever open mouth presented themselves as confidently as a priest at communion previous to this pandemic.
What was even more embarrassing and disappointing was to see social media ‘influencers’ who attended that party recording and posting the videos on their pages, glorifying their actions and trying to remind all their precious followers what great craic they are.
And what about all these influencers who travelled to places like Ibiza on holiday and so blatantly disregarding public health advice. Maybe they all self-isolated when they came home, but maybe some didn’t. There’s only some many selfies you can take in your own house for two weeks.
It’s also disappointing to read tweets on social media that suggest it is in fact older people whose fault it is for the rising cases. One tweet from a young male last week suggested that ‘some old people refusing to wear masks in shops’ is as much to blame for the rise in cases as, say, a house party of young people.
Maybe old people are to blame, but there’s yet to be a video leaked of an elderly person swinging from a ceiling, or holidaying on the Mediterranean Sea.
Of course not all young people are to blame. The vast majority in the country are leading by example. However, instead of feeling victimised every time a few fingers are pointed in our direction, we should take some more responsibility for the consequences of our actions.
This is not written by someone riding a Gold Cup winning moral high horse, but as a young person who recognises some complacency seeping in.
Maybe now is the time for young people to officially grow up and take responsibility for the future. Then we might get our beloved sport back.


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