The feuds have finished and the murders have relinquished; yet Limerick is still at the forefront of the media when the word ‘crime’ is mentioned. The city has recently been recognised for being murder free for a 12-month period. Times have changed. The people of Limerick look at 2015 as a year of fresh starts and new beginnings, but our public image has never looked so bad. This week I watched Donal MacIntyre’s TV3 programme which investigated Limerick city. He visited Weston, St Mary’s Park and Moyross, talking to people in the area and focusing mainly on the horses in the community. There was not one positive light being shown on the city that has changed. The programme focused on the most disadvantaged areas; which almost every large city has.
I was not shocked to see Limerick being portrayed in this light on television; I was disappointed. I have grown up watching the crimes unfold and the gangs cease, I have watched documentaries investigating our crime and murder cases. I thought we had surpassed that negative image, and we have; just not in the public eye. “No news is good news” but Limerick has been at the centre of media backlash for too long. The people from Limerick watching this programme will understand the negativity. It is the people who are not from Limerick watching this programme that I worry about. The people who might have a trip to King John’s Castle planned for the summer or a match in Thomond Park. Limerick has so much to offer but is getting so little positive publicity that I worry it will affect our tourism, our businesses and our people. The stigma needs to stop. I am not saying that it is now an angelic haven but it has overcome many difficult obstacles to get to where it is today. There is still crime but there is also hope and fortunately the latter has prevailed this past year, with not one murder in our midst.
RTE broadcast Niall Breslin’s show Bressie’s Teenage Kicks. It was a worthwhile programme but again, it highlighted and focused on the most disadvantaged areas in Limerick. I know talented young males and females from respectable areas that auditioned for the show but were not chosen. Is it because they would not attract enough media attention with their address or they way they speak?
During the programme they showed a variety of different places in Limerick, again disadvantaged areas and not one major landmark was mentioned or visited. Moyross could be likened to a stable with the amount of horses that the cameraman shot rather than scenic views of Limerick city or county.
The Republic of Telly caught onto this too and showed a clip of all the horses, laughing and joking about Moyross. It’s all fun and games until someone asks where you’re from and your reply is ‘Limerick’. You then wait for the response, which is usually mixed. As a student in Cork I am met with this question on a regular basis. The replies vary from “Stab City?” to “Oh lovely, I was there once it was nice”.
I stopped worrying about the response and started telling everyone about the drastic changes being made in Limerick, the improvements and the slow but steady recovery. After seeing these programmes on the television these past few weeks I know where their opinions stem from. Until the media stops exploiting Limerick and instead start showcasing it for the wonderful city it is, how can people move on?