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EDITORIAL: Forbes article an insult to one of Ireland’s great cities

As a native of Co. Galway, I’m no stranger to having residents of other cities poke fun at us.

More specifically, I’m a resident of Ballinasloe, in the east of the county. We’re known as the birthplace of Supermacs (we have four branches within a five-minute drive, so yes, we are culchie savages) and the annual October Horse Fair, which is Europe’s oldest.

I would consider Galway to be my home city, and having lived there for a number of years, its stereotype as a rain-drenched bohemian city where the smell of marijuana and the sounds of annoying buskers dominate is mostly earned.

It’s all in good nature, and a bit of harmless craic.

On the other hand, my adopted home city of Limerick still suffers from a totally unearned reputation as a crime-ridden dystopia.

The monkier of “Stab City” applies to Limerick to this day, yet statisically, Limerick only has one entry in the top 10 of recorded crimes in Garda stations between 2003 and 2019.

Stats: CSO statistics reporting the Garda stations that have reported the most crimes

As the above graphic show, Waterford and Galway – cities with smaller populations than Limerick it should be noted – have more crimes reported than Limerick.

As a proud adopted citizen of Limerick, I’m disgusted by the article, as an editor and aspiring journalist, I’m disappointed.

Doing your research is one of the key parts of being a journalist and writing a good article, so if Limerick Voice, a student publication, can provide accurate stats but Forbes, a multi-million dollar media outlet with an international presence, can’t, what does that say about the state of journalism?

In my three years of living in Limerick, not once have I ever felt unsafe or unwelcome in the Treaty City.

As far as Limerick being “the Murder Capital of Europe” as the Forbes article claims, I worked in a city centre newsroom for six months, and I certainly don’t recall tripping over a dead body in the middle of the street or having to cover a story about a mass shootout.

The author of the piece appears to have gotten his ideas and perception of Limerick from watching The Wire and not realising it was A) fictional and B) not set in Limerick.

In the context of the article, it implies that Limerick was “the murder capital of Europe” during the Collison brothers’ youth, again, this is incredibly wrong.

A cursory 2-minute Google search reveals United Nations data that Dublin is the city with the highest murder rate in Ireland – so the writer’s accusation that Limerick is the worst in Europe holds no water.

United Nation stats showing the murder rate of European cities – Limerick is nowhere to be found.

I’ve come to regard Limerick as Galway’s slightly more sensible and put-together older brother, and it’s a city I miss dearly in these Covid times.

The bitter irony of the Forbes article is the fact it was a celebration of the Collison brothers, one of the great success stories of modern Limerick, and helps cement our reputation as a city on the grow.

We’re a city with an arts scene that stands shoulder to shoulder with any other city you care to name, a sporting legacy that stretches generations, and a cornerstone of Irish history.

Does Limerick City have it’s problems? Absolutely. It would be naive to suggest otherwise.

To revert back to lazy stereotypes drawn up by the Dublin media from over a decade ago is reductive, an insult, and borders on laziness.

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