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Editorial – Ballyragget

No one knew could have pointed out Ballyragget on a map, or even been completely sure it was an actual town up until last week, and now the parish is notorious for reasons I’m sure the residents would rather it were not. It’s true what they say, that you never really know who is watching. Undoubtedly, the scandal will pass, but it is unlikely the small town of Ballyragget will ever truly forget their brief spell of infamy. Comments on the scandal have been made by everyone from politicians to the local parish priest at Sunday mass. It was supposed to be a time of celebration for the teenage Kilkenny GAA stars, whose title win ended a 4 decade dry spell for the club.

Unfortunately for them, their win barely got a mention in the press outside the county until that night, when they became Ireland’s newest social media stars for a completely different reason. A GAA cup was involved, and that’s what really irks a sizeable percentage of those who have slammed the whole affair, not the unsavoury events that took place, nor the blatant disregard for privacy by the person who drip-fed the images to the media for maximum impact, and has been reported to be completely unconnected to the team. Those involved have claimed that nothing illegal happened that night, and it’s possible we’ll never know, but regardless, those pictures are out there for life.

Whatever side you fall on about the night’s events, it’s a sobering thought that nowhere is truly private anymore, even when you think it is. The whole world is one Snapchat or Facebook message away from being party to exactly what you got up to last night, and if the Ballyragget scandal is anything to go by, it’s unlikely people will be queuing up to defend your choices. It’s a tricky balance, then, between wanting to enjoy yourself anywhere in public and not wanting evidence of it to haunt you- until the next big thing comes along, that is. It certainly isn’t a choice that anyone should have to make, but in this age of social media, smartphones, and clickbait, it’s something that everyone thinks about.  Fortunately for the majority of us, your chances of going viral are considerably worse if you have two left feet and aren’t a GAA star.