Having spent several days ignoring the violence in Balbriggan last weekend that included the burning of a house, Sinn Féin has been forced to respond to other people breaking the conspiracy of silence (that includes the national broadcaster) on the issue.
Louise O’Reilly the Sinn Féin TD for Fingal has come under strong pressure from her constituents and members of her own party to address the situation. There is genuine fear in what was once a sedate north county town that the situation mainly revolving around gangs of African descent is threatening to turn the area into a “ghetto.” That is the description being increasingly used by locals who on previous occasions have protested about the lack of will to tackle the gang problem.
In an email sent to the Minister of Justice, Helen McEntee, on August 11, O’Reilly manages once again to avoid referring to the elephant sitting in the middle of the sitting room.
According to O’Reilly, the anti-social violence can be attributed to “poor planning,” a “lack of amenities and an inadequate level of Gardaí.”
She believes that: “Perhaps due to a lack of outlets because of Covid19, incidents of anti-social behaviour have risen.”
This completely ignoring the reality that the behaviour to which she refers and the gangs largely responsible did not suddenly appear during the virus lockdown. This has been an ongoing issue for several years.
In December 2017, a crowd of hundreds of local peopel marched to Balbriggan Garda station calling for action, with some voicing their view that the lack of measures to tackle the gangs was due to the perception that this would be deemed “not politically correct.”
As with other situations in which communities have spontaneously reacted to impositions on them, Sinn Féin prefer to insinuate that sinister forces are behind the anger felt by many people. The people of Balbriggan and elsewhere are angry with regard to how their communities are being undermined by ill thought out social engineering projects which are somehow supposed to work here, where they have been proven to be disastrous in north London, the Parisian banlieus and formerly sedate low crime Scandanvian cities.
Thus it is that O’Reilly declares: “In the midst of this, there are some who have come to the town to use this as an opportunity to stir up hate.”
So rather than deal with the consequences of the policies her party and the rest of them support, O’Reilly prefers to conjure up some mythical external agency that is causing people to become annoyed. In an update to the email addressed to constituents, some of whose comments were taken down, O’Reilly claimed that she was “not responding to those trying to stir up tensions and trouble.”
And she was not referring to those who are stirring up tensions and trouble by their total lack of respect for the place they have come to live.
She seems to prefer that incidents like those which occurred last weekend are downplayed. Perhaps it was only the scale of the outrage that forced her to say anything. And that anything is exactly the sort of meaningless platitudes we have come to expect.