Grand Parade Panic Terror Frenzy Rampage Fear

Looking at the stream of frenzied comments following the posting of a video showing an excited crowd in Grand Parade last Saturday night, you’d swear the city was about to explode into an inferno of burning snack boxes inhabited by flesh eating coke-fuelled zombies drooling covid-saliva down their young curry sauced faces.

The ‘news skimmers’ posting on social media from under duck feathered duvets from their suburban panic rooms, calling town a “no-go zone”, “like Beiruit” and “a country on the brink of collapse” are way off the mark.

Even Gardaí, normally quick to use a story in the media to appeal for more resources, had to come out and say people in the city centre were “overwhelmingly compliant”. Think about that word for a second: overwhelming.

The Gardaí were overwhelmed by how compliant people were. It almost sounds like they couldn’t cope! 

Some publicans seemed to hint that if pubs were open the scenes in the viral video wouldn’t occur, but stand at the Berwick Fountain at 2.30am on a regular Saturday night and the antics seen in town last weekend look like an out-of-tune Christmas concert at a creche in comparison.

The PROC happened to be in the city centre last Friday night and on many other nights during the lockdown and while there were a spattering of groups here and there, socialising, having fun and drinking on the street, they were all well behaved and not in the slightest bit inappropriate.

It is ridiculous to suggest the city centre is unsafe - unless of course you’re the type of person that wets the bed at the thought of a group of young fellas huddled around a bin drinking a few cans of cider on a cold November night.  

When videos like this are posted, context and perspective are often lost as drama queens try to out do each other with hyperbole.

A bit of horse play and noisy craic becomes ‘utter chaos’. Shouty teenagers are labelled ‘really aggressive’ and a bit of running around or a few handbags among hormonal alpha-teens, becomes ‘totally unsafe’.

These are the type of people who leave weddings after the meal because they find people doing ‘Rock The Boat’ on the dancefloor too intimidating (and think anyone partaking in it should be wearing hi-vis vests).

It’s easy to preach ‘stay at home’ from the plush surrounds of your spacious Rrrrrrochestown manor or while looking down on us from your ivory tower in Mmmontenotte, but if you’re holed up in some mouldy three-bedroomed tenement on College Road with four official flatmates plus the add-on lay about boyfriends/girlfriends that hog the damp living room smoking joints all day, you’re going to want to get out to meet your friends and let off some steam.

Surely, the pious self-appointed covid police on social media who condemned house parties during the summer should be happier that young people are gathering outdoors now rather than in each other’s flats?

Afterall the virus is far more likely to be transmitted indoors than on a cool, blustery night on the boardwalk in mid-November. To young people who have to wear masks all day at school or college, it seems the nation’s curtain twitchers aren’t happy no matter what way they socialise.   

The furrowed brows scrolling through endless ‘covidiot’ clips on Facebook looking for more evidence that the world is about to go up in a mushroom cloud of covid smoke because a few hysterical teens were running around Grand Parade like Fota monkeys at feeding time need to get a grip and try to remember what it was like to be young.

Remember, as the first restrictions came into force in March, the most talked about series on the box became RTE’s raunchy Normal People which featured gratuitous and graphic sex scenes between the two young characters sending the nation’s hormones into overdrive. 

While it’s easy for co-habiting couples to rush upstairs to pretend they are Connell and Marianne, being cooped up with your old pair or being single in a dingey flat means feeling like a caged animal in heat.

The temptation to escape and meet up with friends and the opposite sex plays on your mind all day regardless of what terror George Lee is conjuring up to try to convince young people to stay in or under their beds alone until mid-2021.

Why should we expect young Corkonians who are entirely unaffected by covid themselves to continue to stay at home at night with their boring parents watching misery merchants on the news when the facts tell them that there are only 10 people in hospital (as of Monday morning) with the disease in the whole of Cork, that a vaccine is now imminent and that they spend all day at school with their friends anyway?

Corkonians of all ages have done incredibly well to get infection numbers down again, but 9 months of isolation to an 18 year old is perceptively far longer than the same length of time for a 40 or 50 year old adult.

Young Corkonians should observe the rules as best they can, but their youth is running out and life is short.

They should gat on.