For fear that the incessant rain isn’t enough to dampen summer frolics one just has to turn on the news to completely eradicate the illusion that Ireland is not quite the ideal Island for holidaying.
Somewhere along the line, the news has transformed from just being a platform, where those with a morbid fascination for moaning about the government, increased levies and decreased economic promise, could take refuge. It used to be predicable, a reliable source of ‘not-the-end-of-world’ local news, tales of all the usual white collar crime that is met with loud but unoffended gasps of despair and disbelief when he heard that the banker actually went to jail – amazing! Stories of nationwide economic crises that brought comfort to all those sharing the rocky ride. Reports of tragic and saddening road accidents making us more aware of road safety and a one-off rare and shocking domestic crime that stirred the nation for a couple of days, took column inches for weeks and stayed live in the media for like ever.
That’s what it used to be like, but turn on the news now and what is most shocking is the number of murders and brutal attacks being committed around Ireland on what seems like an almost daily basis. Is there no value on life anymore? Or rather is there no weight in the severity of the punishments doled out to the persecutors? How often do we hear the line, ‘the accused, who has 47 previous convictions, is being questioned at ‘Rath-yet-another-chance’ Garda station, under ‘Section nothing to lose’ of the criminal justice act’. Pardon me for asking for obvious, but after 20 previous convictions it not patently clear that rapid reform is not on the cards for this criminal. Or when he/she reached conviction number 40, did someone somewhere in the justice system not deign to imagine that there would indeed be a number 41, 42, 43, 44 conviction.
All this is in stark contrast of course to the justice system in Qatar, where there is almost zero crime and guess why, that’s right, because there is zero tolerance. Not alone can you guarantee that there will not be a brutal murder carried out on some unsuspecting victim on a Saturday night neither will your handbag be pinched from your unattended supermarket trolley. Zero crime is one of the great advantages to living in Qatar, no need to worry about break-ins or indeed to lock your front door in the first place, no need to hide loose change in the console of the car and certainly no need to worry abduction, stabbing or shooting, again, why?, right again- zero tolerance.
Needless to say Qatar is not totally without crime, the large proportion of crime being committed again migrant workers who come to the country and end up being forced to accept worse contract terms that those for which they were originally recruited – not altogether different to Ireland. The only regular crimes frequently reported in the newspapers are under such headings as, ‘Housemaid steals diamond ring from her boss, begs forgiveness’ – completely different to Ireland, where the housemaid would have taken the whole jewellery box, left without finishing the ironing and stabbed the boss for good measure. And different to Ireland again is the re-action, in Qatar the housemaid would get deported immediately, in Ireland she would get another chance, and enter ‘the system’ which she would thereafter bleed for rehabilitation, legal aid and by conviction number 10 she might even get a rejuvenating stint in the joy.
While Qatar is busying detaining and deporting both the defendant and the prosecutor, Ireland is dishing out suspended sentences and in-house programmes to help the criminals back on the straight and narrow. Subsequently while Ireland is issuing warnings to innocent people about bolting their doors and staying safe, Qatar is reporting zero crime. Naturally, nobody would agree that living in a country that supports flogging, stoning and the death penalty as forms of punishment is reasonable, but surely living in a country where stabbings, shootings and murder in general occur on a regular basis, without satisfactory retribution, is favourable either.
So given that I’m not under imminent risk of being forced into bonded labour or forced servitude in Qatar, for the foreseeable future and unfortunately, I feel a lot safer in Qatar, that I do living at home in Ireland.