Friday, April 27, 2007

Poor Clonmel

Why don't I ever hear anything good about my old home town of Clonmel in the news these days? It's not a bad place it just seems to be going through a bad patch in the news lately. Today it is because a woman was killed in a suspicious fire and there are reports that some wheelie bins around the town had earlier been set alight. The speculation is that a bin fire spread to a car which exploded and set the victim's house alight.

It sounds like a prank that got out of control. It's a tragedy, and it is an over the top prank that cant be excused but I doubt anyone set out to deliberately burn down a house. That said the town does seem rought than I remember. This article describes some of it but I heard more last time I was home. It sounds like some local kids are basically travelling in gangs and consider themselves above the law.

On Saturday Clonmel town centre came to a standstill when a gang of uniformed youths took over the Main Guard area. Eye witnesses said weapons were produced and spoke of 'a violent clash'.

The previous Saturday, St. Patrick Day, the town centre was the scene of another shocking incident when young men stole weapons from a pet shop and later brandished them on the streets of Clonmel.

The town Mayor commented

Cllr. Prendergast said there should be more police patrols on the streets of Clonmel, a more visible presence to deter such activity. She also called for more resources to be channelled into housing estates to provide facilities that would establish an outlet for the energies of the young people involved in that type of behaviour.

Despite what Cllr Prendergast says it's not like the kids in Clonmel can complain about the lack of facilities in the town today. "There's no facilities" is just the automatic excuse when people dont want to stir things up. I know this sounds like I'm an old fogey but in my opinion the town has come on along way since the 1980s and 1990s when I was growing up there.

For years the cinema was closed, McDonalds would have been a family from Scotland, a coffee shop was some place with a jar of nescafe and a kettle, the best bookshop in town had about 4 shelves and 100 books, the best disco was two miles outside the town, a "playstation" used cassette tapes to store the games which you couldn't buy in town and the cable company wouldn't come down some roads unless every house agreed to sign up. It was a quiet town sometimes but we didn't cause trouble like what happened above. We had fun but we knew if we crossed the line we'd get into the shit with our parents, the neighbours and even the school principal would give you a bollocking if you misbehaved outside school.

Today the town is almost a small city with every possible facility to keep kids amused and yet some still join gangs, loot shops (that's how it was described to me), take over parts of the main street, attack passing cars, burn bins, cars and possible houses and people will still excuse their behaviour. When will we learn that bad kids don't always become good kids if you give them a pat on the head and put up some goal posts? Sometimes a little fear of punishment goes a long way to keeping people on the straight and narrow.