Wall to Wall on Gerry Ryan
Deaglán de Bréadún
There is wall-to-wall coverage of the Gerry Ryan inquest and its implications in the Sunday papers. As an astute reviewer of the papers on his own radio show, he would well understand the irresistible lure of the story for broadsheets, tabloids or – new word – “compacts”.
Having said that, one has to feel the greatest sympathy for his loved ones who, having already endured the deep sorrow of his death and funeral, must now suffer the slings and arrows directed against Gerry in the media.
It has to be said, though, that the inquest has done us all a service in highlighting the issue of cocaine usage in our society. This window won’t stay open for long, so the opportunity should immediately be taken to initiate a debate on the matter.
For a long time now, this particular blogger has been banging on about the need to create a climate of severe disapproval, in addition to rigorous enforcement of the law, in relation to hard-drug consumption, especially among elements of the “educated” classes, not least in the media/entertainment sector.
The law on drink-driving has worked very well, although I accept that it is much easier to enforce. There has been a cultural change and, by and large, it is now just not acceptable to drink and drive. The smoking ban also shows how behavioural change can be achieved.
There needs to be a cultural change in relation to drug usage as well. The implications have to be brought home to people. I recall Vice-President Santos of Colombia saying to me that when people use cocaine they are putting blood up their noses – not their own blood but that of the multitudinous victims of the horrific cocaine trade.
If we could get that debate going, then Gerry Ryan, whom I knew personally and who was a highly-intelligent, talented and in many ways very humane individual, will not have died in vain.