Aftermath of riots – interrogating the discourse

March 5th, 2006 | by Andrew Ó Baoill |

Over at Tuppenceworth Fergal Crehan has a thoughtful piece that raises a point I’ve seen discussed, also, at Irish Indymedia regarding responses to the riot in Dublin last week – that is, the dismissive and Daily Mail-style hatred for the ‘underclass.’ I say Daily Mail because their
Middle-England blend of small-minded middle-class resentment is well known, though Fergal identifies a Sunday Independent column as emblematic of the Irish version. Fergal’s response deserves to be quoted and considered carefully:

Now I am no fan of the liberal apologia, which attributes blame only to the privileged, and makes excuses for all others. I understand that in seeking a target for blame for a broken window, you could do worse than the man who threw the brick. But I am alarmed at where discourse like that quoted above appears to be leading us. There is an underclass in Ireland, which is both disenfranchised and irresponsible, the two being opposite sides of the coin of social exclusion. We would all, myself and Mr. McMahon included, like to see that underclass eliminated. But whereas I would hope to see this happen through improvements in the lives of its members, others are less patient, and just want the skangers to go away. By whatever means necessary. Order must be imposed. I have yet to hear the word “vermin” applied to the rioters, but I imagine it won’t be long in coming.

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