independent

Tuesday 23 September 2014

How little we care for a troubled woman

Published 12/11/2013 | 05:38

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WHEN did we become a nation of such harsh critics? A race whose decency and compassion seem to have gone out the window in place of bitterness and anger and an inexplicable compulsion to point the finger

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Case in point? The horrendous backlash that 25-year-old Australian woman, Samantha Azzopardi, received from the public via social media and indeed media outlets across the country once her true identity emerged.

For those who don't know, Azzopardi was the young woman found in Dublin City Centre in a 'disturbed state' and was taken onto care by the HSE. It was originally believed that she was only 14 years old and may have been a victim of sex trafficking.

But within hours of releasing a photograph of her - albeit weeks after her being discovered - it soon became apparent that the woman was in fact from Australia, had a conviction for fraud there and had at least 40 aliases.

And so the haters emerged out of the woodwork and got busy on their laptops and smart phones, bitching about the amount of man hours and money had been wasted dealing with her case.

Some suggested the gardai should have left her on O'Connell Street (what a ridiculous statement) while more bombarded the internet with name calling and other pathetic suggestions on what the authorities should do with her.

When she was thought to be a 14-year-old victim of crime, we couldn't do enough for her, but once there was even a suggestion of a dodgy background we feed her to the lions, branding her a con artist and a hoaxer.

People don't seem to care that, according to Australian media, this woman has a very complex background and has had long periods away from her family. There is a background of mental health issues, they explained, which could account for her peculiar behaviour.

Do we care? Na. Instead, let's just think of the worst names we can call her and be done with it.

Our lack of compassion is astounding and makes me embarrassed that this is the reputation we are now getting worldwide.

The way the case was handled by the gardai and the HSE was exactly as it should have been. My God, imagine the backlash had they abandoned her and not given the case the time it deserved. It seems you can't do right for doing wrong in the country

One Australian media outlet accused Ireland of turning against Ms Azzopardi. Isn't that understatement of the year!

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