Wednesday 26 November 2014

Ian O'Doherty: Dole queues, wage cuts and a rise in crime – definitely a year to forget

Published 05/01/2013 | 06:00

Another one over. A new one just begun. So, went the year well for you?

To be honest, I doubt that too many tears will have been shed at the demise of a year that has seen this country lurch from one semi-catastrophe to another.

In fact, I know more people who have lost their job than have found work in the last 12 months.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to still be in gainful employment have had to cope with pay cuts and tax hikes – the perfect double whammy for people who are now unsure whether they are waving or drowning in debt.

If there's one thing I've copped of late it is the sheer, burning, rage and hostility we are feeling towards our political elite – who have completely and utterly betrayed us.

We're not children, we all know that the global economy is in tatters and, a few green shoots aside, things show no sign of demonstrably improving any time soon.

So, we understand that we're only a small economy relying on the fluctuations of the market, but the bit that sticks in people's throats is the condescending tone of politicians who would almost lay the blame solely on the rest of us.

If I hear one more eejit in the Dáil loftily informing us that we all lived beyond our means during the good times and now we all have to share the pain, I will launch my own one-man armed revolution – call it the Ian Spring, but with better music and fewer chants of "Allahu Akbar".

Although having said that, simply walking down any street in Dublin's city centre is a bit like entering a war zone – or to be more precise, occupied territory.

Because the north inner city has now been colonised by addicts and pickpockets. The atmosphere is one of barely restrained menace and I had to laugh when that mobile phone footage of a fight on Talbot Street was broadcast on television to national revulsion.

What's the big deal? I thought. Sure those of us who have the dubious pleasure of working here see similar occurrences – and worse – on a daily basis.

My boss had his phone nicked by some scrote on a bike and during the summer I got an interesting, if rather depressing, insight into how the gardaí operate in that area.

Myself and a friend saw a girl being mugged. We took off after the horrible little rat responsible but by the time we caught up to him he had already passed the girl's phone to one of his mates.

When the pair of us returned to the young woman (16 and her first time in the city. Welcome to Dublin indeed) she was giving a statement to a female police officer – who angrily informed us that she would have arrested the pair of us and charged us with assault if we had "laid a hand on that gentleman".

Ah yes, nothing instils a sense of civic responsibility quite like being ticked off by a cop for the crime of trying to reclaim a young girl's phone.

Indeed, if ever a group of people needed to improve their public image then it is surely An Garda Siochána.

The rather gruesome spectre of all-out war between criminal gangs and dissident Republicans also shows no sign of ending any time soon. On the contrary, it looks like we're about see an escalation in the conflict.

Thus we had the incredible sight of terrorists brazenly firing a volley of shots at Alan Ryan's funeral.

I'll leave the sermonising to the pulpit but the one thing I do know, and it's not fashionable to say it, but every time one of these thugs is killed, the reaction of the vast majority of people is . . . yes.

I'm originally from Crumlin and I still know people who live there and they certainly don't shed any tears when another gangster is taken down.

These are the people who have to live – quite literally, sometimes – in the crossfire of a violent, coke-fuelled feud and they prefer to leave the platitudes to the priest and just try to get on with their their day as best they can.

Believe me, they don't lose any sleep over another dead criminal. After all, if you live by the sword, then you can't complain when you die by it – something, incidentally, that Alan Ryan's cohorts failed to grasp when they accused the police of letting Ryan down.

So, they don't recognise the State or any institution of the State – such as the police – and then start whingeing when the cops are late on the scene.

Now I know we're not dealing with very bright people here, but really, someone should explain the concept of irony to them.

All in all, it has pretty much been a year to forget. So from me and mine to you and yours, thanks for reading the column in the last year and let's all have a better '13 than we had a '12.

Irish Independent

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