Photo credit: Houses of the Oireachtas

Senator absolves Cherry Orchard youths of responsibility

Following the dramatic scenes in Cherry Orchard scenes this week, there were a couple of very different reactions. And while nearly everyone who saw the footage was naturally appalled, some were upset for very different reasons.

For example, most ordinary people who saw the clip were sickened at the total decline of law and order in what was once a safe, civilised country. That was the takeaway for most of us who saw it.

But Irish politicians, as usual, had other priorities.

As Independent Senator Eileen Flynn told us, the real outrage in this event is that the people repeatedly ramming police cars, apparently with reckless abandon, are being called nasty names, like “thug” and “scumbag” online:

“Over the last two or three days, we saw on social media what happened in Cherry Orchard in Ballyfermot. I want to put on the record that these young people are not scumbags, thugs or low lifes in society. They have been failed time and again. Their parents and their grandparents have been failed by the State, by previous Governments and, unfortunately, by this Government.”

So, to be clear, according to Flynn, the State is forcing people to drive dangerously and ram police cars. It’s all the government’s fault, and has zero to do with the actual human being sitting at the wheel with their foot on the accelerator.

It’s worth pointing out, as an aside, that Eileen Flynn was not elected by anyone, but was nominated by the Taoiseach of the very government she’s criticising. That’s how she took her place in the Seanad.

This, therefore, is another great example of the government’s innate masochism, where they seem to love putting people in positions of power who constantly snub them or blame them for everything. They do this with NGOs like the National Women’s Council as well, giving them huge amounts of annual funding, and then not getting invited to feminist events.

Our leaders appear to have some kind of kinky humiliation fetish, where they enjoy being slapped around and abused by hard-Left ideologues who clearly hate them. But that’s for another article.

Returning to Eileen Flynn’s point, of course the government is at fault for the decimation of the Irish justice system and allowing police forces in these areas to be depleted over years. But that doesn’t mean that the actual culprits shouldn’t be held primarily responsible for their own actions.

It’s also telling that Flynn expresses zero concern for the law-abiding people who have to live around such behaviour, and instead she jumps straight to defending those causing the havok.

She went on to add that the “poverty” these people experience played a role in them ramming a police car:

“Instead of this House and the media calling these young people names, we should invest in young people. By calling them names and feeding into it, we drive young people further into poverty and away from society.”

There are at least two main reasons why this is outrageous.

Firstly and most obviously, Flynn is absolving the culprits of all responsibility. It’s not the fault of the young men who actually did it, she says – it’s the fault of society, the government, the Beatles, Charles Darwin, Moon Men from outer space – anyone and everyone but the actual perpetrators of the actions. Someone else is always to blame.

Secondly, according to Flynn, those who engage in anti-social behaviour do so specifically because they’re poor. Apparently we’re to believe that they have no agency, and no option but to ram Garda cars because their parents didn’t buy them a bike for Christmas, or something.

The subtext is “Of course poor people behave this way – they’re poor. That’s what poor people do.”

Needless to say, this is grossly insulting to the many poor people who live honest lives and would never consider engaging in such behaviour.

As an example, my father, like many in his generation, grew up in crippling poverty in a Dublin family of twelve. They often wouldn’t have enough food to eat in the Scallan household at that time.

Yet nobody in his house was ever involved in crime or antisocial behaviour at any point, nor would such a lifestyle have occurred to them. He and his siblings were raised with values and decency, and taught to be civilised, productive members of society, regardless of how much they had in their bank account.

So to act like being poor is some kind of free licence to act like a degenerate gurrier is an insult and a slap in the face to the many poor people of integrity who have standards.

At this point it’s clear that Flynn’s comments are woefully out-of-touch, and that the Cherry Orchard incident took much the country by storm. But not necessarily for the reason one might think.

After all, it’s not so much the severity of the event that has drawn the public’s attention. In fact, taken in isolation, the incident wasn’t overly serious. At the end of the day, a group of young louts went joyriding and rammed a Garda car a couple of times. The Gardaí involved were reportedly injured, but nobody involved was killed (thank God).

In a country where teenagers are the victims of acid attacks, and people are being killed with samurai swords in their own homes, a Garda car being rammed a few times is not exactly the crime of the century. On paper, this shouldn’t be a big deal.

And yet, people the length and breadth of Ireland have had a visceral reaction to that night’s events, and for good reason: because it is a symbol of something much bigger than itself.

When people living in dangerous areas look at that video, they don’t just see a Garda car being rammed. They see the same types of lawless youths who terrorise them every day in their local community. They see a large crowd of young men with apparent contempt for the law and their fellow citizens, and an example of the behaviour which makes so many people’s lives a living hell.

It’s not so much that the incident is worse than others, but that it feels personal and raw for so many. And for a lawmaker to come along, and rush to the defence of those who are terrorising society, is simply beyond the pale.



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