The different generations in Ireland are like “cultural islands competing with each other,” according to Ciara Kelly.

She was speaking after Irish Times columnist Padraig O’Morain argued that generational labels like ‘Millennial,’ ‘Boomer,’ and ‘Gen X’ are pointless.

He said we shouldn’t be labelling generations and argues that the labels are as helpful as zodiac signs.

“Little islands”

Newstalk Breakfast presenter Ciara Kelly said she wholeheartedly disagrees.

“I think the generations are actually like little islands,” she said. “I think, actually, there are real cultural differences between us.

“I grew up in the 80s and we were influenced by a whole wave of music, a whole wave of change – the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the releasing of the power of the Church in this country.

“Even the Millennials when we repealed the eighth and all the young women – I was glad to see them – were there cheering, but they were standing on the shoulders of women they didn’t even know about.”


In his piece, Mr O’Morain argues that there is no evidence backing up the idea that millennials are more narcissistic than previous generations – but Ciara said there are clear differences in certain areas.

“I don’t think you can dismiss them and I think they probably are important that we recognise them,” she said.

“They may not be narcissistic but they certainly don’t believe in free speech to the same level. They have intolerances that we don’t have.”

She said the differences are often not that serious – but there are some that are cultural and real.

“What’s more, the younger generations are really dismissive of the older generations and that is the only ‘ism’ they’re OK with,” she said.

“Ageism is the last prejudice that millennials are good with.”

“Products of our environment”

Shane Coleman said the article makes a “very compelling argument” but admitted he also disagrees.

“Ultimately, I think we’re all products of our environment,” he said.

“So, my father was the product of a world where people weren’t sure, in a week’s time, where the next meal was coming from.

“Then our generation was the product of the fact that you know, we were slightly wealthier. Not wealthy by any means – I think most people weren’t wealthy – but maybe that fear of poverty was starting to decrease.

“I think inevitably as we get wealthier and we become more pluralist as a society, it does have an influence on generations.”