I Hate This Town...

As I may have mentioned previously, it has been our custom, where I work, to go away for a weekend around Christmas, if for no other reason than to get us out of the city and give me a chance to learn how to declare "I love this town!" in the local language, something I am now able to do with confidence in France, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, Hungary and, if we ever go there, Klingon.

It's something, however, I am less likely to say about my hometown these days.

Dublin has degenerated into 'Land of the Junkies' - where every street corner seems to have either a dealer or a hophead, one with the jitters looking around for cops that rarely materialise, the other so spaced out of it that he wouldn't know it if they did.

They wander out into traffic and pick fights with each other or with humans, or meander their way from one end of the street to the other, wailing in barely-intelligible English for their friend/supplier/other, frequently passing each other by without noticing so that the cries and responses grow to resemble a sort of 'Junkie Sonar':

"Sharonnnn!!!"................................................................"Whaaaaa???"
"Sharonnnn!!!"............................................"Whaaaaa???"
"Sharonnnn!!!"........................."Whaaaaa???"
"Sharonnnn!!!"........"Whaaaaa???"
.............
"Sharonnnn!!!"........"Whaaaaa???"
"Sharonnnn!!!"........................."Whaaaaa???"
"Sharonnnn!!!"..........................................."Whaaaaa???"

They push baby buggies (with or without infants in them) out into traffic, almost daring it to hit them, and lurch about like the walking dead, all the while looking for their next fix.

It'd be almost funny if it wasn't so godsdamn tragic...

And then there are the pushers.

On any given day, I watch from my office window and see guided tours of the Henry St/Moore St area, where groups of people are told of the history and traditions of the quarter, and its place in our revolutionary story. And on any given day, these groups are within reach of up to three drug dealers spotting for each other while trying to stay out of the view of the so-called "anticrime" cameras.

The police do their best (and indeed have redoubled their efforts of late) but a lot depends upon their witnessing a crime before they can intervene, and their resources are stretched thinly enough that they can't be everywhere all the time. Indeed, the afore-mentioned dealers have a network in place that warns them if a Garda appears anywhere in a three-block radius. The bastards even use Bluetooth.

We've taken to giving them names - there's Scarecrow, a gangly, bespectacled individual who carries a phone in one hand and watches for police; Poison Ivy, who runs a flower stall that also sells contraband tobacco; the Ear, a guy who, like Scarecrow, acts as spotter but wears a bluetooth earpiece. You get the picture.

Merchandise is stashed in a refuse bin on the corner; occasionally we'll see a dealer running after the council workers who empty the bins if they've been by too early.

There's also a mobile 'stash', held by an elderly gentleman who looks like somebody's kindly old grandfather and goes about with a tartan pull-along shopping trolley.

Every now and again the police cruise by and disrupt business; for a short time, they even stationed a uniformed officer on the street corner. But that just succeeded in driving the business somewhere else. Three days later, they were back.

It is to our shame as a society that this situation exists and is allowed to continue.

And as much as I love my city, I sometimes really hate this town...

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