We need to keep it simple during Covid-19 outbreak: Terence McNaughton
TERENCE McNaughton plans to delete a number of WhatsApp groups from his mobile phone over the coming days and wants people to stop posting their good deeds on Facebook during the coronavirus lockdown.
Although there was more than a bit of tongue in cheek about how some of his friends have been coping with the Covid-19 outbreak, the former Antrim Allstar says that people are definitely overloading on social media – but believes “a lot of good” can come out of these desperate times.
“People are going to press the reset button and realise what life is about after this is over,” said the Cushendall native.
“It’s about family and relationships. What else do we need?”
Two years ago, McNaughton completed an 11-day Camino walk and savoured the thinking time the experience offered.
“This reminds of Camino where I’m starting to think about things that are really important. I genuinely believe society will appreciate the simple things in life. It’s not about putting stuff up on Facebook.
“If you’ve £100 in your pocket, give your mate something to feed his children and tell nobody. Hopefully those are the things that’s going on at the minute – have a real society where people do good for each other, where you feed your neighbour, cut his grass, look out for him, that kind of stuff.”
A bar owner by trade, McNaughton’s business has been hit hard by the deadly virus. He’d just opened a number brand new bedrooms above the Lurig Bar in the heart of Cushendall.
“In the history of mankind, I couldn’t have picked a worse time to open up six bedrooms. It wouldn’t have been as bad as this after the Second World War as it is now.
“So, talk about all dressed up and no place to go? We’ve had a total of one person that stayed in the new rooms before the lockdown.”
McNaughton added: “It costs a lot of money for the bar still to be there. This is going to put me back years. If I was thinking I’d be debt-free at a certain age, you can put that back by five years. But, so what. I can’t do anything about it. Everybody is in the same boat. It is what it is. You just have to deal with these things.”
While not trying to detract from the seriousness of the situation, McNaughton chided some of his friends who have become glued to their phones since the pandemic reached Ireland.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before. Everyone is self-isolating,” he said. “What I need to do is start deleting the WhatsApp groups. I’m serious. Social media is bad for your health. What’s the latest thing? 5G poles have caused this virus. It’s mental.
“Our parents’ generation, they were being shot at during the Troubles – whereas we’re sent to the sofa to watch Netflix. What’s required of people is very, very little – self-isolate, wash your hands, social distance, don’t be going to the shop every five minutes. Is that too much to ask to protect each other?
“We’re blessed in the Glens for walks. My wife and I have been out walking quite a bit: backpack, coffee, sandwiches and we sit down and talk for a while. It’s not that bad.
“I’ve cleared my garage out, listening to Bruce Springsteen, and looking at old scrapbooks that I found. Nobody should have a dirty house after this anyway.”
While it’ll be a long time before we see “65,000 in Croke Park for a hurling match”, McNaughton feels we might appreciate sport when the crisis ends.
“To use a sports analogy: it’s half-time, we’re a man down and seven points down. There’s no point feeling sorry for ourselves. You have to keep cutting the turf, abide by the rules - and delete WhatsApp on our phones. It’s easy.”