herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Gerry O'Carroll: We spend €50k a day on an Inquiry, let's spend it to keep thugs off streets

Noel Rock
Noel Rock
Croagh Patrick
Colin Farrell
David Drumm

A Dublin city councillor was looking for a taxi opposite the Gate Theatre at 1.30am last Saturday.

Noel Rock was going home after a day's canvassing when he was randomly attacked and punched in the side of the face.

"When I turned around he motioned for [my] bag. I backed away and said, 'What are you doing?' and he said, 'You grinned at me'," he said.

Rock managed to get away from this thug but his story is all too commonplace in our capital city nowadays.

A fortnight earlier, on July 10 last, 17-year-old Diana Mongan, was walking with friends through Mountjoy Square Park, Dublin, when she was attacked.

Her brutal assailants were a feral gang of young men and women, who left Diana with serious injuries, including a fractured nose, two black eyes and severe bruising to her head, face and neck.

One of her sadistic attackers even tried to set her hair on fire as she lay on the ground.

Four days later, 20-year-old model Thalia Heffernan was mugged at Mercer Street, Dublin, as she was heading to Grafton Street for a work assignment. Thalia was struck several times by her female attacker and robbed of her bag.

These are three recent incidents. There have been many more such assaults and muggings which do not make the press.

Hardly a day goes by without some innocent tourist or local becoming a victim of predatory gangs of thugs that roam the streets of our capital.

Most of these attacks are carried out by drug addicts who are strung out on heroin and cocaine or prescription drugs and desperate for money for their next fix. Hundreds of these hollow-eyed pathetic junkies shuffle around the city centre every day like walking zombies.

But not all muggers are desperate junkies. Many are out-of-control young thugs.

How can they tackled? Or can they be tackled? This crimewave seems to be a permanent one.

Well, the solution is simple and expensive. But if we want to make Dublin's streets safe then we need to pay up.

It's a straightforward fix. We need more gardai on the streets of our capital city to maintain an acceptable standard of law and order.

Patrolled

I speak from experience as I patrolled those streets in the course of my career as a garda inspector in the late 1990s. When uniforms were on the beat the crime rate dropped.

The gardai can do their best with limited resources but the fact remains that street crime is a numbers game. More police equals less crime.

You can talk all you want about injection centres for addicts, or more CCTV, or 'dedicated crackdowns' but they're all just window dressing.

At the end of the day gardai on the beat are required.

The Government's happy to spend €50,000-a-day on a historical Banking Inquiry.

How about spending some of that in the here and now - to help Dublin citizens?

 

I've climbed Croagh Patrick with a five-year-old, but not in a rain storm. . .

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Back in the early '90s I climbed Croagh Patrick with my wife and five children. My youngest, Brian, was five at the time.

We were holidaying in Ballina when we decided we would climb the holy mountain.

It was a glorious sunny morning in July. We completed the climb without mishap.

However, even though it was a perfect day on the mountain, we did experience a few scary moments. There's no doubt that Croagh Patrick, in places and in certain weather conditions, can be dangerous for hikers.

I was, therefore, amazed that last Sunday - the traditional annual day of climbing the mountain - hundreds of people ignored official warnings about the awful weather and hiked up regardless.

perilous The climb was officially called off. Despite this, hundreds of foolhardy pilgrims ignored all the warnings.

There was heavy rain and gale force winds, which made the route perilous, with a real risk of serious injury or worse to climbers.

I cannot understand the mentality of those foolish people who risked their lives on the mountain despite the warnings from the gardai, the local clergy and the emergency services.

A little girl of three years was one of 12 people who had to be taken off the mountain as a result of the appalling conditions. The child was suffering from hypothermia.

The real miracle last Sunday was that none of the misguided pilgrims who risked their lives, the lives of their children and rescue crews, were killed or seriously injured. We can only thank God and St Patrick for that.

 

Colin Farrell is a true star, both on and off the screen

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IT'S hard not to like Colin Farrell.

In his early days in Hollywood, he enjoyed a reputation of being a bad boy, following in the footsteps of the legendary Irish hell-raisers like Peter O'Toole and Richard Harris, who were infamous for their drinking and womanising.

But, thankfully, Farrell has now given up his auld sins and has become a genuine A-list star in Hollywood with a string of acclaimed movies to his name.

Now he's stealing the small-screen headlines in his role as an off-the-rails detective in the second season of True Detective.

One thing that I admire about Farrell is that he never got too big for his boots and has always proudly commented on being Irish and his Dublin origins.

He now says that he's enjoying his role as a family man and living the quiet life. More success to him.

 

Hero

 

TWO-TIME Tour de France winner Chris Froome was subject to naked hostility by spectators during the race this month. He was verbally abused and on one occasion an onlooker threw a cup of urine over him. The Englishman answered all his loutish  critics in the best way possible, by winning the Tour. Bravo Mr Froome!

 

Zero

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I WAS delighted that ex-Anglo boss David Drumm's offer to appear on a video link to the Banking Inquiry was opposed by its lawyers and the DPP. Mr Drumm has some explaining to do alright - not to politicians but to gardai. It's time he acted like a man by returning to face the music, instead of hiding away in the States.

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