Fintan O’Toole: Crumlin children do not need Conor McGregor’s gangsta fantasies

Crumlin shook off the negative stereotypes of my youth, but he is bringing them back

Conor McGregor has been fined €400 in Blanchardstown District Court for driving at 158kph on the Naas road near Dublin. Video: Jack Power

Crumlin had a bad name. When I was growing up in the Dublin Corporation housing estate in the 1960s and 1970s, we felt angry about the perception that we were less respectable than anyone else. Reputation mattered – if you gave a Crumlin address on a job application, you probably wouldn’t be called for an interview. The estate featured in the newspapers only in court reports, with judges wondering rhetorically whether anything good ever came out of Crumlin. Some of this rubbed off on some of us – the idea that you came from a place that was no good fed into low expectations: if this was what they said you were, you might as well settle for it.

Over time, this all changed. The stigma could not be sustained in the face of the reality that Crumlin was an ordinary place, full of ordinary families who worked hard, did their best for their kids and got on with living decent lives. And now it’s back, thanks to a single clown. Conor McGregor purports to love Crumlin, to see its people as his people. If he does, he has a funny way of showing it – by smearing the place in the lurid ghetto glitz of the Get Rich or Die Tryin’ culture. Crumlin kids need that allure like the hole in the head that is its ultimate outcome.

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