The Way We Live Now
Deaglán de Bréadún
There is a particularly distressing court report in today’s Irish Times. The case is harrowing but I want to confine my remarks to one aspect of it. I wish only to refer to a phrase used by defence counsel in the course of the proceedings.
That’s where he states that, were it not for the fact that the victim hit his head on the ground, it would have been “a standard punch-up”. We all know what he means: fights are commonplace in Ireland and he is saying that, if things had turned out differently, this would have been just another barney in a pub.
Be that as it may, what does it say about our society? There are other countries where people can go to the pub and somehow or other there is hardly ever a fight. Mirabile dictu they don’t even have bouncers on the doors (the bouncers are even more scary than the customers sometimes).
Some time ago I wrote a blog about my colleague Frank McDonald’s trials and tribulations as a resident of Temple Bar. As someone who has been in war-zones as part of my professional duties, I find the downtown area of Dublin on a Saturday night quite oppressive with its atmosphere of suppressed violence. Sometimes I’d rather be on the West Bank.
The later it gets, the worse it is, I need hardly say. Not long ago I saw two men fighting on Dorset Street, but it wasn’t just old-fashioned fisticuffs, they were kick-boxing and looked as if they meant to kill.
No doubt there will be plenty of similar incidents over the “festive” season and the Gardaí will cope as well as they can, but otherwise not a lot will be done about it. Meanwhile the drinks industry sails on.
This is the way we live now.