Friday 30 September 2016

O'Doherty: Could we not come together as fellow citizens?

Published 18/10/2015 | 02:30

Compassion: A candle lit vigil for the Carrickmines victims
Compassion: A candle lit vigil for the Carrickmines victims
Hors d'ouevres pain: Jennifer Connell

There are some uncomfortable truths which must be confronted following last week's fire in the Carrickmines halting site.

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The first which should be acknowledged is that there was undeniably a more muted reaction to the tragedy than there would have been if it was 10 settled people who had died in the fire.

Browsing through Twitter on Sunday was actually a rather depressing experience - not because of any abuse being levelled at the victims but because there was so little reaction at all.

Yes, I know, we were all gearing up for the biggest sporting day this country has enjoyed in years but we also know the real reason for this initial deficit in sympathy - they were Travellers.

I'd hardly be known as a champion of Travellers' rights but this had nothing to do with politics.

When 10 people die in such circumstances, particularly when the dead include so many children and a pregnant mother, it doesn't matter where they come from, basic compassion kicks in.

Well, you'd like to think it would, anyway.

But then, seemingly before the smoke had even cleared, representatives from some groups were quick to appear on the news to berate the Government, the council and wider society for letting these people down.

It would have been nice to have a ceasefire, just a brief one.

It would have been reassuring to see people come together as fellow citizens to mourn an Irish tragedy without any agendas, at least until after the funerals.

It would have been heartening to think that maybe some good would come from this fire and our shared empathy for the bereaved could have helped to remove barriers.

Now the residents of the Rockville estate are being tarred as racist because they objected to a 'temporary' halting site on the green in front of their houses.

For starters, there is no such thing as 'temporary' when it comers to halting sites - once they're established, they tend to stay.

But that won't stop the professionally pious media or the usual virtue signallers from condemning ordinary working-class people who simply want to maintain their area.

These are people, lest we forget, who had been complaining for years about criminal and anti-social behaviour and one of the reasons why the local council handled the situation so badly was because relations between them and the locals had already broken down.

It's easy to be a model of compassion when it hasn't directly impacted on you, which is why so many idiots were happy to tell the world they wanted to house Syrian refugees in their own home.

We have a clear and pressing accommodation crisis, in suitably tragic circumstances, so where are all the refugee-lovers now?

It's only a matter of weeks since these people were talking about opening up their homes.

This is their chance to prove they meant what they said but will they do it? So, c'mon people - time to back your words up with action.

Any takers?

Nope. Didn't think so.

Because it's easy to virtue signal when the problem is far away - it's more awkward when it's on your own doorstep.

If gender fluidity is in, are gender quotas out?

So, Jonathan ­Rachel Clynch goes to work dressed as a bird and the world doesn't stop turning.

Not only that, but he has been congratulated by his bosses for being so brave. While I'm sure they are truly awestruck by his courage in telling the world that sometimes he likes to wear a frock, they also know that are tap dancing on a minefield.

I'm not sure, but I reckon if I turned up in Indo Towers wearing a nice LBD and a pair of shag-me heels, the reaction might be a little less effusive.

In fairness, I'd say horror (and maybe a soupçon of guilty desire) would be the first response, followed by a call to security that I'd finally lost it.

Also, and this is a crucial point, I once spent a lovely day with some Dublin transvestites who dolled me up and the results weren't pretty. In fact, I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I looked like Ruby Wax's mutant sister - and that ain't a good look.

At least Jonathan could carry it off and the knowing half smile, half smirk on his face when he was snapped outside RTÉ suggests that he was quite enjoying the attention. And why not? He looked great.

But if we are to now accept that gender fluidity is a real thing and not just an affectation or a sign of some inner mental turmoil, does this mean we can now get rid of gender quotas in Irish politics?

So, lads - the next time you're dumped from the list because you're not a woman, why not pull a Jonathan and turn up in a dress, insist that you're gender neutral and deserve the nomination?

After all, in a world of endless, State-enforced tolerance, what party would dare to turn you down?

BTW...

Families can be a tricky thing at times. We've all been at family gatherings where old resentments and past slights crop up as soon as ­someone hits the whisky and before you know it, the insults start to fly.

But if each happy family is the same and every unhappy family is unique in their own way, I wonder what the mood will be like in the Connell household this Christmas.

When Manhattan native Jennifer Connell went to her 12-year-old nephew's birthday party, the little tyke ran up and gave her a hug, saying: "Auntie Jen, I love you."

Unfortunately, his hug was so enthusiastic that Ms Connell injured her hand, so she did what every loving aunty does - she sued him for $127,000.

In a case that was dismissed this week, she argued that: "All of a sudden he was flying through the air at me.

''I caught him and we tumbled."

Interestingly, she even admits that her nephew was: "Always sensitive and loving," but despite that, she says she claims that: "I was at a party recently and it was hard to hold my hors d'ouevres plate."

Oh, the humanity!

Now, I don't like kids, either.

But suing one of them for giving you a hug seems a tad excessive.

Somehow I doubt her nephew will remain 'sensitive and loving' after this, but it also emerged that she is a Human Resources manager.

I'll say no more...

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