‘Should we be buying from Amazon rather than working to keep a place like Nenagh alive?’

Unthinkable: Fr Sean McDonagh is increasingly worried about the power of big tech

Fr Sean McDonagh: ‘I am 77 on my next birthday and I ask myself will I end up in some care home where I am being taken up out of bed by a robot each morning?’ Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Fr Sean McDonagh: ‘I am 77 on my next birthday and I ask myself will I end up in some care home where I am being taken up out of bed by a robot each morning?’ Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

When Columban priest Fr Sean McDonagh was working as a missionary in the Philippines in the 1970s phoning his mother in Ireland was a two-day job. He would have to take a circuitous bus journey from the remote island community where he lived to the nearest city where an international telephone exchange offered hope of a brief, crackly conversation before he’d set off on the return home.

He recalled seeing his first mobile phone in Hong Kong a decade later: “The device looked like a large Bord na Móna turf briquette, and the battery, which was huge, lasted for less than an hour.”

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.