The media have gone insane over these Phoenix Park stabbings, branding all Dubliners with the scumbag label, as if a few random violent attacks could somehow define an entire city.
Now, I can understand why people might become violent when they turn up for a band and find out that they’re really just three fools playing records, but let’s leave that aside and stick with the issue: labelling an entire city. Naturally, we here in Limerick would never dream of inventing damaging labels for Dublin just because nine people were stabbed at a gig in the Phoenix Park, or because a journalist was randomly murdered as he walked home, or because criminals routinely shoot each other dead in pubs.
We’d never call Dublin Gun Town, or Skangerland or Howya Heaven. That would be crass, simplistic and lazy, but we also understand that these stupid labels can go viral and cause real, tangible injury to a city’s reputation. Therefore, despite the wave of violence sweeping across Dublin, we will resist half-witted generalisations and continue to remind anyone prepared to listen that the climate of fear on the streets of Dublin is caused by a very small minority.
The statistics are incontrovertible. Many Dublin people have never been stabbed. Not even once. Outside the bad areas, life is relatively normal, and people go about their daily business as if the conflict never existed, but of course that will never satisfy the sensationalist media.
I don’t care. I’m sick of our towns being labelled by idiot journalists, so it’s time to make a stand, and I’m going to say it now. Dublin is safe. It doesn’t deserve the reputation foisted on it by the tabloids. Most people walking the streets of Dublin are perfectly secure as long as they observe basic safety precautions and keep an eye out for trouble.
These days, wherever you travel, when you tell them you come from Dublin, they retreat with hooded eyes and mutter Skangerland. It’s wrong and it’s unfair, so let’s stop calling Dublin Skangerland. The violence is the work of a small minority.
Most Dublin people are ordinary, decent folk, surviving in the face of vicious gang warfare with armed police on the streets, and they don’t deserve a label that damages their livelihoods and reduces their children’s chances of employment.
Stupid labels are never good.