I’m watching a TV3 documentary about my town as I type this.
A voice-over describes Limerick as the murder capital of Europe with a murder rate exceeding 7 per 100,000 people. An interesting concept in a town of 120,000 people where one killing can increase the murder rate by 15%.
One murder in a village of 1,000 people would bring the rate there to 100 per 100,000, making it the murder capital of the entire world by this half-witted measure, but numeracy was never a prerequisite to get into journalism in Ireland, and neither, it seems, was logic.
According to Donal MacIntyre’s website, he’s an investigative journalist, specialising in hard hitting investigations, undercover operations and television exposes. He has won praise for his courage, and campaigning zeal particularly his consistent work in the area of care homes for the elderly and the learning disabled.
Going on the evidence of what we saw tonight, this is nonsense.
Donal Macintyre is a lazy, cynical journalist.
In the TV3 documentary, the camera closes in on children tearing apart a burnt-out car and follows two hooded children driving a motorbike on a pedestrian footpath while Donal provides the commentary. Those children were encouraged by TV3 to commit crime for the camera.
[Update: it later emerged that TV3 used stock footage of feral children they filmed in Dublin two years ago. ]
Do I recognise this town in which I thought I lived and where I grew up?
Well, yes and no.
I recognise those estates on the television where poor people live in the desperation of poverty. The same sort of places as they have in Dublin and Cork and Liverpool and Hull and Baltimore. (Ref: Dublin has highest rate of gun murder)
But I don’t recognise the town that’s home to the World Music Centre, or the Irish Chamber Orchestra, or Munster Rugby. I don’t recognise the town where my son hopes to attend a University course in sustainable energy. I don’t recognise the place where the creative people I know play music and perform theatre and laugh and tell jokes and cook and eat and make love and swim and fish and play sports and enjoy life.
I’m looking at a sterile vision, given to us by the incompetent, cynical and unimaginative failure that Irish telejournalism has become.
I’m looking at child-abuse, perpetrated by TV3, as the track-suited children of mendicant poor tear a stolen car apart for the benefit of their cameras. I’m watching TV3 further brutalise children already damaged by poverty and it doesn’t matter that these children were filmed in Dublin rather than Limerick. They’re still children, playing up to the cynical attentions of a tabloid TV station and a hack reporter pretending to be what he isn’t.
TV3 pays children to commit crime, denounces it, and holds its nose against my town. The fact that they pretended these children were filmed in Limerick is neither here nor there. We have feral children just like Dublin.
I feel disgust, truly, and that disgust is misdirected because it ought to be aimed at the filth who defile our country, but which instead is diverted towards those who ought to know better. People who think of themselves as journalists but who have no moral standards apart from hunger for the next cheap headline.
People who prefer to rely on the cliché and the stereotype instead of applying genuine analysis and intelligent thinking.
We have criminals in this town, and it’s about time our authorities devoted the resources to crush those low-lifes, as I have been saying since I started writing this site. But I won’t accept this shallow and facile characterisation of my town.
The more I see of these documentaries, the more I realise that the phrase “television journalism” is an oxymoron.
Journalism doesn’t exist in television.
With all the things going on here, the best that Donal MacIntyre can come up with is a few hackneyed shots of burnt-out houses? Is he not embarrassed? I certainly thought he looked a bit sheepish repeating clichés to the camera, and though it could easily have been my imagination, I felt I knew what he was thinking.
The Paddies will buy the kind of shite I’d be sacked for in England.
He’s right of course. Our standards are lower, and shame on us for it. But he’s wrong to act on such venal and grasping urges. He should have more principles as a journalist.
Yes, we have social problems, and yes, we have crime problems, but tell me this. Is your town free of them?
I believed Donal MacIntyre was a credible journalist, but when I saw his manipulative use of Shane Geoghegan’s murder, and that of Roy Collins, I realised he’s no more than a hack like all the rest of them, and that’s a pity.
Unlike Donal MacIntyre, I personally know people who were hurt by the loss of Shane Geoghegan and it pains me to see him use this tragedy as a prop in his portrayal of my town. He’s not of our community. He didn’t earn the right to use our injury this way. It does him no justice and it diminishes him as a journalist to sink that low.
Nobody can deny that our country is beset by savage criminal elements and nobody can deny that we need intelligent journalists.
It seems we don’t have them.
Isn’t that sad?
Welcome to Hell. This is Limerick.