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The Year of the Gangster
rights, freedoms and repression |
Thursday December 28, 2006 21:29 by Kevin T. Walsh - Social Justice and Ethics
Oral History - Old inner City....Hardship.....
My vision for 2007 is we will revisit 'Who framed Roger Rabbit?'. You see Bertie the half Jack Russell and Kerry Blue (what a mix?) will get rid of the rabbit subtly with some deviance thrown in........According to today's paper's he is making overtures to Joe Costelloe. If the numbers add up in June there could be an FF/Labour coalition.......Now what about McDowell. Let' us get real here. Can you see a Poodle from Ranelagh squaring up to a half Jack Russell and Kerry Blue seasoned Northsider......I don't think so......
Last night, after reading the book by Kevin C. Kerins 'Lost Heroines' a oral history about Dublin into the 1980's. The book is highly detailed.
It showed Dublin's inner city in the 1940's and 1950's and the struggle for survival. These people lived in tenements throughout the city and the sewage was visibly seen running down the paths.
It showed older grannies working in factories to financially assist their daughters and grandchildren. By the Church doctrine of that time, women were regarded as baby machines. Quite simply, it was alright to have 12 or even 20 children but there was nobody going to ask the Church - how to feed them and look after then.
Birth control was a taboo subject. Seldom mentioned were the family tragedies that destroyed the lives of families because of the burden of too many children and women driven to mental break-down by the multiplicity of pressures in their lives. The Government were silent. The Church was silent and De Valera's and McQuaid's Press remained silent.
A lady called Moro Wynn who lived during those times said 'I went into the confessional box, I begged the priest from Belmullet, I want to have no more children - he would shout get out you evil woman'.
At that time in Ireland, men had no responsibilities, rearing children was not their job, it was the role of the mother. It sounded like 'Woman, they are not my children, they are yours, so rear them!'. The men were not expected to even speak to their children - that was the mothers' function.
As one old woman said nicely in the book said (Mrs. Casey), inner city Northside - 'McQuaid she said, 'if it was now, he would be taken out and shot. He was revered and reviled. He was regarded by many inner city women as a 'Holy Terror' not a 'Holy Man. On Sunday's while he and Dev the foreigner had their wild fowl and wine, we had rabbits and boiled nettles. I look back with pain and bad memories. Somebody asked me at 97 now, do you like the present and the Celtic Tiger and I reply - with all the wealth and fancy living, there is still poverty around me in the inner city.
What I recall with surprise is Fear and the component it was in the day to day lives of most people and in particular of women. Fear of the dispensary services, hospitals, mental illness, death of children, eviction, those basic commodities we ought not fear because fear destroys.....
Misery, Fear and Tragedy - the unspoken, the hidden secrets. Within a span of 50 years, there was no assistance for un-wed mothers. They became homeless and helpless and forced to prostitution. George Bernard Shaw called such lives the 'blackest misery'. These unwed married mothers had to sell their bodies for food and shelter.
Do we recall the Monto? Yes, we had a red light district that witnessed the horrors of the seedy sex industry. Vulnerable women and their expectant children were visibly thrown out to the streets. It goes without saying that the degenerative lifestyles m despair took the only way out of pure despair and committed suicide......Shame matched secrecy and a history untold.
Walking my dog in the early hours of Boxing Day morning - I had returned to those days of the Monto. I walked up Heytesbury Lane and I got two offers from young Lithuanian prostitutes. As I walked onto Waterloo Road, there were two young girls - not more than 19 advertising their wares. Again on Baggot Street adjacent to Weirs Hardware Store, I could not believe the Squad Car Parked across the road at Baggot Street Hospital. As one neighbour of ours put it, at 2.00 a.m. on Baggot Street in the year 2006, you sadly have the homeless, the dealers, the Gardai, and the young foreign prostitutes - they all intermingle.
So the Tiger has brought us back to revisit the Monto. Our friend Liam spoke to one of the girls out walking one night - she rents a room on Waterloo Road. Her clients are politicians, psychiatrists, police, and local and I mean local business men. What has changed? She also had a Priest client who gave her an extra 100 euros for dressing up as a school girl and a spank......I have a fair idea who this priest is and he says mass with an Opus Dei face. Ironically he claimed in a publication that the Catholic Church ought to revise confession and procedures.
Now less of this .... I forget my title the Year of the Gangster.
I start by saying that my heart goes out to the family of Anthony Kennedy this evening. He was not in the wrong place at the wrong time, he was just doing his job. The target was the mobster Marlo Hyland. We have 27 gangland murders this year - I hope this figure is accurate but one is too many. The latest was a Mr. Leddin, 27 years old.
Why? Not only do we have the worst infrastructure by road and housing in Europe, we have no social networks in the illegal drug blackspots in Ireland. Common sense tells me we don't need extra Gardai, and we don't need extra resources. We need the Gardai to do their job in liaison with educational infrastructure in these areas. We need special teachers at least 200 of them who teach special children who have a short attention span. The research studies from our Universities have knowledge of the adapted curriculums - the message just never penetrates .......
After I got back from my walk I fell into a deep sleep with my Jack Russell but it turned into a nightmare. Your see the Truth can be a nightmare for people like us......those in denial for a lifetime.......I was attending a double funeral of two gangsters - Marlo Hyland and C.J. Haughey. The dream said it was a Double State Funeral for Two Great Men. Bertie in his speech at Charlie's graveside said - he had his faults but he was one of us. He may have taken 200,000 pounds from the 'Liver Collection Box' and accompanied T.....to his usual restaurant to order prime steak and wine. By then he had forgotten the 'Liver Box'. Yes Bertie gave Charlie the blank cheques and stood tall and proud at the graveside.
At the other other gravesside (my dream) McDowell is giving the speech - looking down on Marlo - his old Jebbie school mate. You went the wrong way Marlo after that scholarship (IGA) sponsored by CJ - Irish Gangsters Association........lets get children from deprived areas into private schools e.g. the McGowans, Sligo, The Gallagher Clan, Sir O'Reilly.............................and who knows.
The last five minutes of the dream got worse - it was 2007 at the Galway Races, I was putting 5 euros on Shergar's grandson called C.J. when I noticed Bin Liden exiting the Galway tent with Fahey. He was carrying a copy of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties publication on Human Rights.
Dream .... no .....it is a nightmare. Hope these hallucinations don't become frequent or I will need to find a psychiatrist.......and a bed.........but then the reality of this and Mental Health Issues in Ireland, that the ignored provision to those have mental health problems will mean I never have a chance to get to the Revolving Door and if left long enough adrift......I might just recover and cost nothing.
Culture is a word we fail to due account of. A redundant 1980's saw exiles leave, Michael O'Leary Ryanair have the vision of cheap flights, and the marketing the Irish Culture worldwide. Financially what a success and particularly for companies like Guinness.
The Irish Culture as in Irish language was established firmly in the 1950's.
Political Culture - well this is where are expertise lies. Out of our politicall culture generates policies; tourism; the Financial Services Centre and employment and education options for the inner city.
But what about our Inner City Culture as reported in oral tradition by Professor Kearns. Like the Monto, are we trying to erase this, out of a form of shame.........Who knows".
Kevin T. Walsh
Corporatism by John Ralson Saul (born 1947)
Canadian Novelist, essayist and commentator
'Our civilisation is locked in the grip of an ideology - corporatism. An ideology that denies and undermines the legitimacy of individuals as the citizen in a democracy. The particular imbalance of the ideology leads to a worship of self-interest and a denial of the public good. The practical effects on the invidividual are passivity and conformism in the areas that matter, and non-conformism in the areas that don't'