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Monday, 5th November 2018

Halloween hooliganism a symptom of a bigger problem in Drogheda

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The remains of the burnt out car at Ballsgrove.

Is it just me, or does anyone else find the above image worrying? It shows a burnt out car on the Green in Ballsgrove after it was driven on to a Halloween bonfire. This is as far from childish trick and treating as you can get, it is pure hooliganism.

Maybe it’s something to do with my age (I got my bus pass a couple of weeks ago), but I can’t see how anyone could think that it was in any way remotely clever, funny or appropriate to drive a car on to a Halloween bonfire.

I don’t know if the car was stolen or where it came from, and frankly I don’t care, but the mind boggles at how reckless an act it was or how incredibly knuckle-headed the miscreants that thought it amusing to pull off such a stunt must be.

I’m seldom lost for words but I just can’t get my head around the total lack of anything approaching civilisation that such an act betrays. I suppose I shouldn’t be so shocked, in almost half a century of covering news stories I’ve seen burned out cars, and a lot worse, many times before.

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But they were always the result of accidents or acts of war, certainly not an expression of some warped humour such as this and of course don’t forget the car that was torched in Moneymore last week.

Last year I took photos of a gang of young people who were piling crates and tyres in more or less the same spot in readiness for a bonfire. They told me just where to stick my camera. I don't know where they're from but these kids are feral, they are out of control and seemingly beyond the law as they go about terrorising law abiding citizens.

The photo makes me worry. Is this where we’ve got to in this town/city of ours? Are we so lacking in ambition or caring for our home place, so devoid of respect for others, and ourselves for that matter, that this should even flit across a young person’s warped mind as being remotely acceptable behaviour?

Perhaps it’s a result of bad parenting or the lack of leadership in the town. But that is being unfair to the many good people who are working hard to improve the appearance of the town. I’m thinking of people like the Tidy Towns Committee and the volunteers who are leading the way by trying create some pride of place.

Maybe it’s a symptom of despair at the lack of political power and leadership in Drogheda or the perception that the Council actually doesn’t care about the town. The Chief Executive flouncing out of Drogheda Borough meetings certainly doesn’t help with that perception.

Whatever else it says about Drogheda, this photo indicates that there is something wrong with our self-esteem. It screams: “We’re from Drogheda and we don’t give a shit because nobody gives a shit about us.”

Sorry, but I do give a shit and I know that thousands of others like me do also. But something has to be done; getting cops out of their cars and back on the beat would be a good start. As would getting local government back into Drogheda.

Drogheda also needs much stronger representation in the corridors of power, someone who will make themselves heard at the cabinet table and not be afraid to bang on that table if that is what is needed to further Drogheda’s cause.

OK, rant over, I’m off to collect my pension, but if you’ve any suggestions or comments don’t be afraid to share this article on Facebook and express them.

This article was written by Andy Spearman

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