Average Guy

I spend as lot of time covering circuit courts, so I see him every day.

He left school before the Leaving, in many cases when he was as young as thirteen.

He’s a heavy smoker, has been since he was in his early teens. He probably started drinking around the same time. When he drinks, it is to excess. And when he drinks, he is violent.

Most likely he first ‘came to Garda attention’ because of a traffic offence. Speeding, driving without a licence, driving without insurance, drunk driving. His early appearances in court led to the probation act, fines, losing his driving licence if he had one.

The probation services do their best. They recommended treatment programmes for alcoholism or drug addiction, but the places aren’t there, and they can’t compel him to attend.

By the time he’s twenty, he has a girlfriend and two or three kids, and has graduated to the circuit court. A suspended sentence there will be followed by time in jail, then more time, and he’s unemployable.

Contacts from jail lead to organised crime, and at thirty he’s doing five to eight years.

By then, his oldest kids have left school before the Leaving…

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.