Trouble in the Park
Sir, – I have been reading the multitude of articles and comments from otherwise intelligent people saying the trouble at the Phoenix Park gig on Saturday night was down to dance music and its associated culture. Where have we heard that one before? It was reductivist and ignorant in the 1950s and remains so now.
If people turn up at the gates with hammers and knives then this shows a premeditated intention to cause mayhem. As such, why not treat these concerts and festivals in the same way football has treated hooliganism for years – identify the faces, the ringleaders, the reprehensible scumbags, and blackball them from future events. I’d be willing to gamble that it’s the same people over and over who make trouble at these gigs, similar to how a firm would at a football match.
The dogs on the street know that there will be trouble at certain events and if that’s the case, then could a little pro-active reconnaissance on behalf of the authorities not be considered a sensible preventative measure? Target the hooligan minority instead of commenting with misplaced hysteria and apportioning blame on dance music and our youth. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – When I took the 7.15am train from Westport on the morning of the concert, I expected to sleep. But by the time I arrived at the station, the train was fast filling with rowdy concert goers, settling in for the journey with shoulders of vodka and rum and slabs of beer. I overheard an anxious ticket collector calling the controller and requesting a garda to “walk through the train”, concerned as he was about the drink that was being brought on-board. I sat in the first-class carriage in a bid to avoid the chaos, but by the time we reached Manulla Junction the entire train had been besieged by youngsters, bound for the Phoenix Park.
A group of 22-year-old men surrounded me and worked their way through their stash of booze, alighting the train at each stop to smoke. At one point, the passenger next to me began to crumble cannabis resin into his joint of tobacco. When the train bar ran out of beer they mixed wine with their vodka and continued drinking, growing ever more out of control, heckling anyone who walked through the train.
By the time we reached Portarlington I had acclimatised to the disorder, but a couple of mild-mannered British tourists, who boarded the train, rendered the drunken scene in a savage new light. What must they have thought I wondered as they gingerly side-stepped a passenger who was flailed out between carriages? Surely it couldn’t have been too far removed from their ancestral accounts of the Irish as a lower evolutionary form? I wondered if the scene evoked for them, as it did for me, the racist rhetoric of the Victorian scientist Charles Kingsley who was haunted by “the white chimpanzees” on his trip to Ireland. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Half an hour before kick-off when Ireland played Spain in Gdansk in June literally thousands of Irish (mostly male) adults slugged down as much alcohol as they could immediately outside the stadium before they entered the “alcohol-free zone” that was the PGE Arena.
Hundreds of Irish children were in attendance at the match passing through the crowds of Irishmen “doing their country proud”, “just having the craic”. Where could the teenagers last Saturday night at the Phoenix Park have picked up their attitudes to drink? This country has a problem with alcohol. Most recognise it in society, few recognise it in themselves. – Yours, etc,