The continuing spate of gun deaths in Dublin has once again thrown the spotlight upon life in our nation’s capital. Shootings occur now on a sometimes daily basis. Drugs gangs, some apparently employing former Republican militants as mercenaries, are waging war upon each other and, as a result, are terrorizing local communities for no reasons other than power and profit. People can now die violently, dependent upon the whims of certain sociopathic individuals with too much money and too little conscience.
In the period spanning 2005 – 2015, there were 970 killings (average of 2.11 per 100,000 per annum) in the Irish Free State; Scotland had 889 (1.68 per 100,000 per annum); the Occupied Six Counties (OSC) recorded 252 (1.39 per 100,000 per annum) and the stats for England and Wales recorded 6,123 (1.09 per 100,000 per annum). (figures from the Irish Independent)
This means that the southern Irish state is the most dangerous place to live, in terms of homicides, in the entire Celtic Isles. If the figures for both the Free State and the OSC are combined, then we can see just how incredibly violent Ireland is.
Of course, these deaths will be found to occur most densely in urban areas. Additionally, those who perish are, by and large, involved in serious criminal enterprise. Yet that is cold comfort to those innocents who are caught up in the cycle of violence. It is also poor relief to anyone who frequents, or has loved ones who frequent or live in, the large towns and cities of Ireland where the probability of an incident is greater.
The southern government now claims that greater investment in the Gardaí is the only answer in tackling the soaring crime rates. Yet that is akin to closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Contented people do not turn to drugs and crime as a lifestyle, unless they are idiots ( and it’s accepted that there are too many of those). Criminality is borne of social deprivation and need.
Young men grow up with little or no opportunities to achieve a stable and prosperous life. This is not an excuse for becoming drug-dealing criminals, but is a reason. Drugs offer them a way to make a lot of money whilst gaining some sort of respect borne of notoriety. They crave the promise of a flash lifestyle. Most never make it. Those that do, fight viciously to prevent any others from reaching those levels of income. It’s a dog-eat-dog existence, with the big dogs tearing the pups to pieces. Yet still young men, and some women, enter in the foolish expectation that they will live a long and plush life. They must not read the papers…
If the government are serious about combating the drugs gangs, then they must, firstly, improve the standards of performance and behaviour of the Gardaí, whether by retraining, investment and/or by ensuring that there is strong regulation of how the Gardaí operate. Secondly, they must provide strong measures on child protection extending from birth (and possibly before) until adulthood.
Good schools, medical care, public amenities and government monitoring, combined with a more socialist approach to the economy will ensure that young people grow up healthy and confident and full of hope for their futures outside of a life of crime.
Ireland has the resources to do this. Ireland has the wealth. Ireland has the talent. What Ireland lacks is a fair distribution of all that Ireland has. Ireland does not have the leaders today, in positions of power, who will take on the difficult job of sorting all this shit out. Politicians engage in populism. The short-term fix. That is merely throwing bad money after good.
Ireland needs a long-term plan, and the men and women who will undertake it. In short, Irish politics needs a swift and strong kick up the hole. Until then, we will all be condemned to wondering, which innocent will be next?