LONDON’S top newspaper has come in for criticism after it referred to Limerick as a city “with a problematic violent crime record”.
Limerick is going head to head with the British capital and Paris for the right to host the 2018 Gay Games.
With a decision on this due in a fortnight, the London Evening Standard ran an editorial piece entitled ‘Give us the Gay Games’.
The article – published in Tuesday’s edition – read: “London’s competitors in the bid are Paris and Limerick, a small historic city in the west of Ireland with a problematic violent crime record.”
The editorial has sparked anger, with Deputy Willie O’Dea calling on the newspaper – distributed free to hundreds of thousands all over London – to “correct the record”.
The manager of the Limerick Marketing Company, meanwhile, says bid bosses in London must be worried about Limerick’s bid.
Eoghan Prendergast said: “It is not a fair impression of Limerick. We are at the National Ploughing Championships and there has been a huge reaction from the public with the City of Culture coming up.”
Mr Prendergast said the fact Limerick has been picked to compete with London is an example of how far the city has come.
“They are in competition with us, so they must be worried if they are saying things like this,” he added. Cillian Flynn, press and communications coordinator with the Limerick bid said: “I think they must be trying to big up their own bid by doing down another bid. It’s a very outdated comment, and it’s not the Limerick we know.”
Former Defence Minister O’Dea said the “distorted” editorial was “a decade out of date” where it concerned Limerick. “The editor should acquaint himself with the up to date situation. It is a totally distorted picture. I would imagine the rate of serious crime in Limerick compared to London is a fraction. He should certainly clarify the situation, and correct the record,” he said.
Caherdavin man John Giltenan, who now lives in South London, said he was “absolutely disgusted” when he picked up a copy of the newspaper on the London Underground this week.
“Of course they should apologise. The arrogance of it is what really gets to me. They are trying to denigrate Limerick’s bid.”
He said compared to London, Limerick does not have any problem with crime.
Mr Giltenan asked: “In 2011, what city was flashed around the world for two weeks with the riots,” he asked.
“I think the people who write the articles in these papers have never been to Ireland, never mind Limerick.
“They obviously don’t understand or appreciate the sporting background Limerick city and county has.”