'Vicious' O'Doherty video is criticised by local councillors
Local councillors have come out in defence of Wicklow town in the wake of two online videos posted by journalist, and former European Parliament candidate, Gemma O'Doherty.
In the videos, which were streamed live on YouTube on Friday evening last, Ms O'Doherty and local business owner, Jackie Buckley, walk through the town commenting on the businesses and shop fronts in the town centre. During the course of the first stream, which is entitled 'Bookies, Fastfood Takeaways and Charity Shops: The Destruction of Wicklow Town', Ms O'Doherty introduces herself by informing viewers she is in the 'once lovely Wicklow town' and wishes to highlight the rural dereliction prominent in modern Ireland.
Making reference to the number of Chinese and Indian restaurants in the town, Ms O'Doherty describes the site of the new library as a 'communist bloc' and cites the presence of nail salon and a tattoo parlour as 'all part of the horrible modern culture we have'.
Reacting to the video, local Councillor Gail Dunne of Fianna Fáil, said, 'That video had nothing do with the town, it was just a swipe, a cheap shot to a town that's trying to do its best to get up and running.'
Pointing out that Wicklow had been ranked highly in the latest Irish Business Against Litter survey and was now one of the nation's cleanest towns,
Cllr Dunne added, 'It's truly disappointing for the town. We're not saying it doesn't have its problems, it does. But we're getting the new library, there's talk of a greenway, it's all positive and then you get this. I was born and bred here and that was a cheap shot.'
Councillor John Snell (Independent) echoed Cllr Dunne's sentiments.
'It was a hatchet job, quite vicious. I don't know what the purpose of it was but if it was to show us in a bad light it was very negative and ill-informed. It was very disingenous to the hard-working business people. This is home of the vast majority of us. It was a PR disaster for the people trying to promote Wicklow Town,' he said.
In a second video, entitled 'The destruction of Wicklow Town Ireland where the only hotel has been given to immigrants', Ms O'Doherty and Ms Buckley visit the former Grand Hotel and try, unsuccessfully, to gain access to the interior. As the video nears its conclusion, they discuss Ireland's welfare system, with Ms Buckley commenting: 'Go to the doctor and he should really tell you to go out and have a walk if you're a bit depressed instead of taking a tablet. Get out there and get some exercise.'
For Cllr Snell, this conversation was the most concerning element of the videos.
'Sections of the video called into question people's mental health, which I found the most distasteful of all. Of everything they said, that was the most damaging, saying that people don't need medication and should just go out for a walk instead,' said the councillor.
Ms O'Doherty ended the stream by announcing, 'This is a place I will not be coming back to again until it starts to clean its up act, and until the people start to elect people who have decency and respect for culture.'