News From The Oireachtas

By Tim Ryan, Oireachtas Correspondent Phoenix Park incident a wake-up call – O’Murchú

By Tim Ryan, Oireachtas Correspondent

Phoenix Park incident a wake-up call – O’Murchú

What happened at the concert in the Phoenix Park recently should be a wake-up call for all, Cashel Senator Labhrás O’Murchú told the Upper House.

“We have had several other cases which should bring home to us that we have a ticking bomb in society when it comes to anti-social behaviour,” he said. “In fact, it is more than anti-social behaviour, because that is giving a respectability to what is happening. It is sheer and brutal violence, not just among the perpetrators but targeting innocent people in the community.”

On television programmes recently, he said, he saw individuals who said they were walking down the street, not interfering with anybody or having an argument with anybody, and young boys and girls approached them and brutalised them on the street.

“It may seem the talk of an old fogey to speak about the abuse of alcohol,” he said. “However, there is no doubt that alcohol is severely abused here. It is a drug. If we do not stand up and put our heads above the parapet, once and for all, backed by the media and all those who want a properly regulated society, we will reach a point of no return. The wake-up call from the Phoenix Park is but the start.”

Given the seriousness of the situation Senator O’Murchú asked the Leader, before the summer recess, to allocate a couple of hours to allow for debate on the issue in detail. “We must put our stamp, as an arm of Parliament, on what is happening and call for severe remedies - I am not talking about penal remedies - in the context of legislation. If that is not done following this wake-up call, we have missed another opportunity and we will be back here discussing it again in a couple of years.”

Full Oireachtas report in this week’s Tipperary Star.