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BEN SCALLAN: Paul Murphy’s absurd attack on Paul Kehoe

Of all the sins Paul Murphy will be made to atone for one day, perhaps the most egregious is forcing me to defend Paul Kehoe, which is basically a fate worse than death. I hope you’re happy, Murphy.

This week, Fine Gael TD Paul Kehoe took a break from ranting about Donald Trump, and stunned the nation by actually talking about something groundbreaking that people are interested in for once: antisocial behaviour on O’Connell Street.

Hallelujah to God above – we can be thankful for these small mercies in life.

Speaking about the Irish tourism industry, Kehoe astutely said he was “ashamed” of O’Connell Street, and would not send a tourist there in a fit:

“I am delighted that “Prime Time” is going to do a programme on O’Connell Street this week. As an Irish person, it is a street I am ashamed of. It is full of druggies, crime, antisocial behaviour, robberies, takeaways and alcohol. This is the main street in our national capital. If Dublin City Council does not address what is happening on O’Connell Street, and the streets surrounding it, then I would not send a tourist there because I would be ashamed for them to see what is down that street.”

Now I suspect that if we did a straw poll of humans who have visited O’Connell Street recently, and asked them what they thought of Kehoe’s remarks, the outcome would be resounding, wholehearted agreement. Because as someone who has to travel through there for work on a regular basis, O’Connell Street is what comes up in the dictionary when you look up the word “kip.”

I specify that this is what humans would say, by the way, because I think you’d get a much more varied response if you asked rats and seagulls, who appear to be running the place and are having an all-around ball.

I already did a video going over my disdain for this area, and so I won’t get into all the reasons why O’Connell Street appears to be one of the circles of hell in the Inferno of Dante Alighieri.

The point is, many people would agree with what Paul Kehoe said, to his credit.

In fairness, Kehoe has been a TD since 2002 – literally twenty years – and a member of the governing party for most of that time. So if anyone is to blame for O’Connell Street being a sewage sandwich, it’s him and his government compatriots.

But regardless, at least he admits there’s a problem, unlike many in power – better late than never, I suppose.

But not everybody was happy with Kehoe’s comments, however. Serial complainer Paul Murphy had quite a different response.

“A horrendous way to talk about people suffering from drug addiction,” he said, in reaction to Kehoe’s speech.

This is of course because Kehoe used the word “druggies” when referring to the large amount of visibly-high addicts frequently seen staggering the streets day and night.

While substance addiction is, of course, a terrible affliction, and one would have the utmost sympathy for anyone going through it, is that really the key takeaway from Kehoe’s speech? That he used a slightly uncouth and politically incorrect word to refer to a serious and rarely-discussed problem?

It’s worth pointing out, by the way, that People Before Profit is a party which wants to decriminalise all drugs – even highly addictive drugs like heroin and cocaine.

So in other words, Paul concedes that drug addicts are “suffering,” while trying to make it easier for people to utilise said drugs by removing any deterrent.

Of course, he’d point to Portugal, and the fact the iberian country appears to have successfully legalised drugs with minimal issues.

But while drug users in Portugal don’t go to prison, they are still fined, made to do community service, or forced to attend mandatory drug treatment programs. Despite what many people will tell you, there are penalties for personal drug use and possession in Portugal.

Maybe Paul will come out and say “Well actually I agree with that – we should fine drug users, make them do community service and force them to go to rehab,” in which case his view will be internally consistent and I’ll have egg on my face.

But somehow, I doubt it – I suspect Paul’s view is something to the effect of “You should be allowed to smoke rocks with your HSE-issued crack pipe on the Luas, and shouldn’t suffer any legal penalty for that.” Because that’s classic People Before Profit reasoning. I do invite them to prove me wrong, but I have a hunch I’ll be waiting.

It seems like, as always, Murphy is more upset about arguably offensive language than our capital city transforming into a dangerous, unlivable hellscape for its residents.

If you want evidence of this, I would cite People Before Profit’s last election manifesto, in which they list a number of “law and justice” policies – all of which relate to regulating the Gardaí and the courts better, and restraining the legal system.

For example, they have a policy aimed at protecting Garda whistleblowers, and another requiring judges to provide written explanations for their judgements in some cases.

Some of this may be admirable and make sense – it’s certainly true that the police and the courts need more oversight, and that whistleblowers should be protected. I agree with all of those principles.

But the party has precisely zero policies relating to punishing criminals. The entire law and order part of their manifesto relates to scrutinising the police and the legal system, and puts zero pressure on the coke-dealing pimps, murderers and rapists who terrorise our society daily.

And then, when a TD stands up to actually address these concerns, People Before Profit attack him because he used a mean word like “druggie” – as if that’s the real issue here.

In one fell swoop, the far-Left managed to demonstrate that they are somehow even more out of touch with ordinary people’s concerns than the government are – if that’s even possible. It doesn’t paint a very encouraging picture for the future, does it?

 

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