Seanad debates

Wednesday, 29 November 2023

Recent Violence in Dublin City Centre: Motion


10:30 am

Photo of Garret AhearnGarret Ahearn (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I do not always agree with Senator Clonan but I agree with almost everything he said about things that have been amplified by people across the country, including people in both Houses. That needs to be addressed. Everyone here is coming from a very genuine background and believes what he or she is saying is correct, but there have been contributions even today saying "violence" and "unsafe" about ten times as if that is actually factually true in this country. Sometimes when people make contributions they talk about Dublin solely, but this is an incredibly safe country. Only recently, the Global Peace Index stated that Ireland was the third safest country in the world, just behind Iceland and Denmark. There is an awful lot of good things in this country that make it safe. We can talk about violence and people feeling unsafe, but it is not factually true, taking everything into account. Why do people think so many people want to come to this country? It is because of prosperity, jobs and life expectancy, which in this country is the highest in Europe. We have so many good things in this country. That is why people come here. If we keep talking it down as if this is an unsafe place and a violent society, that is not factually true, albeit what happened on Thursday was an absolute disgrace.When we have people talking about how our problem is immigrants and people coming from abroad, it is our responsibility to counter that.

I hardly ever listen to Joe Duffy but I was listening to his show during the week. I do not know if anyone heard her, but a woman originally from Lithuania was on. She has been living in Ireland for quite some time. She spoke about how she sees herself as Lithuanian-Irish but no more will she call herself Lithuanian-Irish. She now calls herself just Lithuanian because of what happened last week and the narrative of what happened. She made a very good point. She said that if every foreign national in this country went on strike, the place would fall apart. What happened last Thursday would not have been rectified if it were not for the non-nationals, along with Irish people, who came on the scene and those who helped afterwards.

I saw the Minister act as a Minister for Justice in my home town when we were terrified by antisocial behaviour and criminals putting the fear of God into people in Clonmel. About a year ago, a group representing a large proportion of the town's population met her and asked her to intervene and support gardaí to help our town. That never got the coverage that Dublin would get, obviously because of what happened in Dublin last week, but incidents such as this in rural Ireland normally do not get the same coverage.


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