Sunday 4 December 2016

The dilemma facing the Peru Two

The turnaround in our reaction to the young women arrested in Peru is astonishing, writes Carol Hunt

Published 29/09/2013 | 05:00

Michaella McCollum Connolly
Michaella McCollum Connolly
Food packaging allegedly used to hide the cocaine
Michaella McCollum Connolly, left, with Melissa Reid, centre, on their way to court in Lima last week
In this Aug. 6, 2013 photo provided by Peru's National Police, Michaella McCollum Connolly, of Ireland, left, and Melissa Reid, of Britain, stand behind their luggage after being detained at the airport in Lima, Peru

The first public reactions, in the main, were of sympathy and distress. Two pretty girls, only 20 years of age, spending their summer working in the sun-soaked isle of Ibiza, somehow got caught up in the murky world of drugs smuggling.

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One Scottish, the other one Irish, from Tyrone; her parents, interviewed by the media, appeared shocked, mystified and confused, terrified for the safety of their baby. All over the country, parents with daughters wondered if it was a case of, "there but for the grace of God ... "

Many girls work their summers abroad. Even though my eldest is only 12, I presume, when old enough, she will want to travel with friends and soak up foreign climes; enjoy a carefree youth before the constraints of career and family intervene; get herself into scrapes and out of them again without the need for parental involvement – but hopefully without getting herself arrested or worse.

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