Oral History – Old inner City….Hardship…..
My vision for 2007 is we will revisit ‘Who framed Roger Rabbit?’. You see Bertie the half Jack Russell and Kerry Blue (what a mix?) will get rid of the rabbit subtly with some deviance thrown in……..According to today’s paper’s he is making overtures to Joe Costello. If the numbers add up in June there could be an FF/Labour coalition…….Now what about McDowell. Let’ us get real here. Can you see a Poodle from Ranelagh squaring up to a half Jack Russell and Kerry Blue seasoned Northsider……I don’t think so……
Last night, after reading the book by Kevin C. Kerins ‘Lost Heroines’ an oral history about Dublin into the 1980’s. This is an oral history of our city and much research has been done and it is now for people to read in book form to gain alacrity to the poverty in our history as an emergent Republic.
It showed Dublin’s inner city in the 1940’s and 1950’s and the struggle for survival. These people lived in tenements throughout the city and the sewage was visibly seen running down the paths.
It showed older grannies working in factories to financially assist their daughters and grandchildren. By the Church doctrine of that time, women were regarded as baby machines. Quite simply, it was alright to have 12 or even 20 children but there was nobody going to ask the Church – how to feed them and look after them?
Birth control was a taboo subject. Seldom mentioned were the family tragedies that destroyed the lives of families because of the burden of too many children and women driven to mental break-down by the multiplicity of pressures in their lives. The Government were silent. The Church was silent and De Valera’s and McQuaid’s Press remained silent.
A lady called Moro Wynn who lived during those times said ‘I went into the confessional box, I begged the priest from Belmullet, I want to have no more children – he would shout get out you evil woman’.
At that time in Ireland, men had no responsibilities, rearing children was not their job, it was the role of the mother. It sounded like a chant ‘Woman, they are not my children, they are yours, so rear them!’. The men were not expected to even speak to their children – that was the mothers’ function.
As one old woman said nicely in the book (Mrs. Casey), inner city Northside –
‘McQuaid she said, ‘if it was now, he would be taken out and shot. He was revered and reviled. He was regarded by many inner city women as a ‘Holy Terror’ not a ‘Holy Man. On Sunday’s while he and Dev the foreigner had their wild fowl and wine, we had rabbits and boiled nettles. I look back with pain and bad memories. Somebody asked me at 97 now, do you like the present and the Celtic Tiger and I reply – with all the wealth and fancy living, there is still poverty around me in the inner city. What I recall with surprise is Fear and the component it was in the day to day lives of most people and in particular of women. Fear of the dispensary services, hospitals, mental illness, death of children, eviction, those basic commodities we ought not fear because fear destroys…..”.
Misery, Fear and Tragedy – the unspoken, the hidden secrets. Within a span of 50 years, there was no assistance for un-wed mothers. They became homeless and helpless and forced to prostitution. George Bernard Shaw called such lives the ‘blackest misery’. These unwed married mothers had to sell their bodies for food and shelter.
Do we recall the Monto? Yes, we had a red light district that witnessed the horrors of the seedy sex industry. Vulnerable women and their expectant children were visibly thrown out to the streets. It goes without saying that the degenerative lifestyles and many in despair took the only way out and committed suicide……Shame matched secrecy and a history untold.
Walking my dog in the early hours of Boxing Day morning – I had returned to those days of the Monto. I walked up Heytesbury Lane and I got two offers from young Lithuanian prostitutes. As I walked onto Waterloo Road, there were two young girls – not more than 19, advertising their wares. Again on Baggot Street adjacent to Weirs Hardware Store, I could not believe the Squad car parked across the road at Baggot Street Hospital. As one neighbour of ours put it, at 2.00 a.m.on Baggot Street in the year 2006, you sadly have the homeless, the dealers, the Gardai, and the young foreign prostitutes – they all intermingle.
So the Tiger has brought us back to revisit the Monto. Our friend Liam spoke to one of the girls out walking one night – she rents a room on Waterloo Road, we spoke about here likely clients:- politicians, psychiatrists, police, and local and I mean local business men. What has changed? She also had a Priest client who gave her an extra 100 euros for dressing up as a school girl and a spank……I have a fair idea who this priest is and he says mass with an Opus Dei face. Ironically he claimed in a publication that the Catholic Church ought to revise confession and procedures.
Now less of this …. I forget my title the Year of Crime,
I start by saying that my heart goes out to the family of Anthony Kennedy this evening. He was not in the wrong place at the wrong time, he was just doing his job. The target was the mobster Marlo Hyland. We have 27 gangland murders this year – I hope this figure is accurate but one is too many. The latest was a Mr. Leddin, 27 years old.
Why? Not only do we have the worst infrastructure by road and housing in Europe, we have no social networks in the illegal drug blackspots in Ireland. Common sense tells me we don’t need extra Gardai, and we don’t need extra resources. We need the Gardai to do their job in liaison with educational infrastructure in these areas. We need special teachers at least 200 of them who teach special children who have a short attention span. The research studies from our Universities have knowledge of the adapted curriculums – the message just never penetrates …….
After I got back from my walk I fell into a deep sleep with my Jack Russell but it turned into a nightmare. Your see the Truth can be a nightmare for people like us……those in denial for a lifetime…….I was attending a double funeral of two gangsters – Marlo Hyland and C.J. Haughey. The dream said it was a Double State Funeral for Two Great Men. Bertie in his speech at Charlie’s graveside said – he had his faults but he was one of us. He may have taken 200,000 pounds from the ‘Liver Collection Box’ and accompanied T…..to his usual restaurant to order prime steak and wine. By then he had forgotten the ‘Liver Box’. Yes Bertie gave Charlie the blank cheques and stood tall and proud at the graveside.
At the other other graves side (my dream) McDowell is giving the speech – looking down on Marlo – his old Jebbie school mate. You went the wrong way Marlo after that scholarship (IGA) sponsored by CJ – Irish Gangsters Association……..lets get children from deprived areas into private schools e.g. the McGowans, Sligo, The Gallagher Clan, Sir O’Reilly………………………..and who knows.
The last five minutes of the dream got worse – it was 2007 at the Galway Races, I was putting 5 euros on Shergar’s grandson called C.J. when I noticed bin Laden exiting the Galway tent with Fahey. He was carrying a copy of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties publication on Human Rights.
Dream …. no …..it is a nightmare. Hope these hallucinations don’t become frequent or I will need to find a psychiatrist…….and a bed………but then the reality of this and Mental Health Issues in Ireland, indicate that the ignored provision to those have mental health problems will mean I never have a chance to get to the Revolving Door and if left long enough adrift……I might just recover and cost nothing.
Culture is a word we fail to due account of. A redundant 1980’s saw exiles leave, Michael O’Leary and others at Ryanair had the vision of cheap flights, and the marketing of Irish Culture worldwide. Financially what a success and particularly for companies like Guinness.
The Irish Culture as in Irish language was established firmly in the 1950’s.
Political Culture – well this is where ourexpertise lies. Out of our political culture generates policies; tourism; the Financial Services Centre and employment and education options for the inner city.
But what about our Inner City Culture as reported in oral tradition by Professor Kearns. Like the Monto, are we trying to erase this, out of a form of shame………Who knows”.
Corporatism by John Ralson Saul (born 1947) Canadian
Novelist, essayist and commentator
‘Our civilisation is locked in the grip of an ideology – corporatism. An ideology that denies and undermines the legitimacy of individuals as the citizen in a democracy. The particular imbalance of the ideology leads to a worship of self-interest and a denial of the public good. The practical effects on the individual are passivity and conformism in the areas that matter, and non-conformism in the areas that don’t’
Roy Collins ruthlessly shot dead….A father’s will to forgive the perpetrator….is true compassion.
The Father of Roy Collins spoke with compassion and forgiveness.
This sentiment and courage is about true humility, a humility borne from pain and hurt. The loss of a Son to a Mother, Father, Wife, Children, Siblings, Friend to the security of the people in a country namely Ireland. We can ask Why!!
What we witness is the raw face of Retribution but the retribution is among the gangsters and a penal system that fails to heal the effects of crime……
To Year of the Gangster: We decry, we criticise, we talk, we forget, we forget how to empathise, we ask how do some children develop into criminals so many questions and no real answers.
We keep the toll of the atrocities, the toll of those murdered, the missing children, the missing women, the onslaught of illegal drug substances (substances that are so questionable in make up that the effect is most likely a mixture of alcohol with the drugs). We have rape to which we must add all those who are raped while in a drunken stupor and by consequence afraid to make accusations and proceed, the trafficking of young boys and girls as sex slaves who are emotionally as well physically abused.
We now have to review Fraud, currency speculation, taking chances while managing funds, pension funds, deposits, share portfolios. When does taking the chance become in fact ‘GAMBLING’ OR PUSHING THE MARKET UP IN A WHIRL OF GREED AND SPECULATION.
This we don’t really grasp because like Race Horses and the Grand National, the adrenaline starts to flow and it goes global until at a future time…..there is jolt, a drop of fear that becomes fright and the market falls, climbs as little and then falls..
This is the time for us to take stock. Yes, I am relating to a book that I find interesting.
Written inside is : Walking by the Hilton Hotel – note that the Irish Penal Reform Trust are hosting a conference, Mary Robinson former President, was the main Speaker. The meeting was an open meeting so I took the chance and entered.
This book was for sale: Restorative Justice – Healing the Effects of Crime (Preface by Archbishop Desmond Tutu). The writer is Jim Consedine, Publishers Ploughshares.
(The writer has experience: 30 years in the criminal justice field, the last 15 years as a District Court Judge in West Auckland, New Zealand. He tells us that he has worked with people like Dr. Peter Sharples and his team at Hoani Waitit Marae……he worked with Maori youth who had offended and on committees. He states ‘By changing the emphasis from a punitive condemnatory stance to one where the group sought to repair the EMOTIONAL AND MATERIAL DAMAGE OF CRIME, I GLIMPSED THE POTENTIAL FOR A WIDER APPLICABILITY OF SUCH A PROCESS AND THE CAPACITY FOR FAR MORE CREATIVE RESOLUTION OF PROBLEMS……….
Okay I know people feel retribution to be the right way and shy away from such groups as movements for alternatives to prisons. However, this book allows us to break down into two categories the possible reactions to criminal behaviour and actions:
Section one: is about Retributive Justice (is this a ‘dead end street’).
Section 2: is about ‘Restorative Justice’. It is worth considering here the Old Brehon laws, the Maori tradition, the Aboriginal approach…..the Celtic approach of repairing the damage….Biblical Justice……the Canadian approach of Sentencing Circles….the African approach of compensation, healing and reconcilation.
What do we really think of the ‘Caged system’ as seen in the US and the UK – opportunities to see inside these ‘caged effect and disciplined’ prisons can be witnessed on some of the Discovery programmes. To me, I feel disturbed by the inhumane subjection of human beings as if they have no other use to society. I am not qualified naturally to make such an appraisal but still, someone out there might persuade me about this system of incarceration. The Retribution route has its origins in Britain, once the Colonial power.
I look to the newspapers today and all I seem to read is about schools, teachers, expressions on their faces, blame of Government officials and bankers, business people, lawyers etc. I ask one question Who are they to Judge? Henry James, the famous Psychologist from the 19th century said ‘You may not be able to change a person but YOU CAN CHANGE ATTITUDES’.