Eithne Shortall: The young women, the leering man, and the problem with power imbalances

Events in a Dublin coffee shop were a reminder of why some people find it so hard to let go of oppressive power structures

Acceptable social behaviour is changing in Ireland, but occasionally you are reminded of why oppressive power structures existed for so long and why many people are reluctant to let them go.

Recently, I was in a Dublin café sitting near a group of retired men, probably in their late 60s. I listened as one of them talked about what he’d been up to recently. He had a real zest for life and it was lovely to get a window into someone else’s world.

I gleaned from their conversation that some, if not all, of these men had once had professions of authority. This was clearly a ...