herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Cead mile failte, now hand over your phone and wallet, please...

PICTURE the scene. A young American tourist has just arrived in Dublin and is strolling along Aston Quay enjoying the summer sunshine on his first trip to the city.

His name is Joe Sheehan and he's a 20-year-old trained lifeguard whose great-grandmother hailed from the Auld Sod.

Hearing a commotion and shouts, Joe glances over the quay wall and sees a young man struggling for his life in the murky waters of the Liffey.

Without a second thought, this good Samaritan dives into the swirling river and rescues a man in difficulty who was being swept out into the current.

It's a textbook rescue.

Then, as Joe was receiving the applause of bystanders for his heroic actions and the grateful thanks of the rescued man (right), a low-life thief made off with his possessions.

Welcome to Baile Atha Cliath 2014, Joe.

You see, before going into the water Joe had stripped to the waist and placed his phone and wallet on the pavement.

And while he was on his mission of mercy, risking his life in the process, some sorry excuse for a human being saw an opportunity to steal Joe's property.

Despite being followed by a witness, this pond-life managed to evade gardai. Now, to be fair, it wasn't all doom and gloom. Three kind-hearted passers-by who witnessed the daring rescue treated the young American to a night on the town.

I have no doubt this kind gesture will in some way make up for Joe's unfortunate experience on his first day in our city.

Perhaps Failte Ireland or Tourism Ireland should take a leaf out of their book and reimburse Joe for his losses as a gesture of good will? If he's still here, of course.

This whole shameful incident raises the question: why do we tolerate the behaviour of the miserable low-lives who stole Joe Sheehan's belongings?

plague

These individuals are a plague on the city centre. For years now they've clogged up the Liffey boardwalk, infested the street corners and preyed on vulnerable visitors.

And yet it seems that nothing can be done. Or there is no will to do it.

If I had the opportunity to meet up with this decent compassionate and caring young man I would assure him that despite his unfortunate and shameful experience it does not represent the Dublin that I know and love.

But it does, sadly and shamefully, represent part of it.

And until we decide to tackle this street scourge Joe Sheehan won't be its last victim.

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