DUBLIN 1980 : THE GLUE SNIFFERS.
Pictures by Andrew McGlynn. From ‘MAGILL’ magazine September 1980.
Not a bag of sweets . Glue. Heavy , vaporous adhesive. You put it to your face , inhale through your mouth and nose at the same time . It gets you high , or makes you feel better. It’s comforting. You use a plastic bag. After a while your lungs have drawn so much fumes from the bag that the glue becomes dry , soggy , pale brown. You have inhaled the solvent. In about an hour the bag is useless.
The solvent attacks your nasal tract , your lungs , kidneys , liver and brain . Your nose runs , there will be sores around your mouth. You are dizzy , speech slurred , eyes dilated . Your mood changes from tranquility to aggression in the space of minutes .
There are a lot of kids sniffing glue around the city centre , these days and nights. A hard core of three dozen , with others trying it occasionally ; they are mostly travellers’ children . They are curious and naive , like all children , gentle and excitable , sometimes aggressive , always with little respect for the future. When told that the glue will damage them , maybe even kill them , they shrug. It’s a cheap comforter , a cheap high. It’s something to do. Some of the older kids ‘graduate’ to alcohol .
A social worker gives a weak smile – ” They’re behaving pretty normally for someone who’s totally rejected….”
HOPE IN THE SHADOWS…….
For some Northern nationalists the Anglo-Irish Agreement (‘Hillsborough Treaty’,1985) only makes their lives more dangerous , for others it offers hope on a road to nowhere. Fionnuala O’Connor visited a (Provisional) Sinn Fein advice centre in the Ardoyne and Seamus Mallon’s office in Newry.
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine, December 1986.
” I had a seat for three terms at Stormont , ” said Frank Feely, ” and I had no vote. The Unionists never considered anybody from the South could possibly get elected. “ Tommy McGrath’s political pedigree goes back further – twenty years on the council as an ‘Irish Labour Party’ representative until the SDLP arrived on the political scene.
They sat there , the two of them , with their freight of election memories from the decades of anti-unionism while in the background among filing cabinets the business of an MP’s office carried on : 2,000 cases handled , say the two professionals , since Seamus Mallon took the seat from Official Unionist Jim Nicholson. Clearly the two older men find this new regime impressive though their style is obviously still more a question of meeting people in the street and carrying files in your head .
” These young graduates could tell you more about this than me , “ Frank Feely says over his shoulder , ” it’s a question of confidence , this whole ‘Anglo-Irish Agreement’ (‘Hillsborough Treaty’) , it gives hope. Our first interest is solving the constitutional issue and getting to the bottom of it . It holds out the hope of that.” (‘1169…’ Comment : that 1985 Treaty only offered “hope” to those who believed it could be used to brush the whole issue of British involvement in Ireland under the carpet or , at the very least , put a ‘new gloss’ on it . It was doomed to fail from the start.)
A BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS…….
A look at issues raised by Liz Curtis’ recent book.
From ‘IRIS’ magazine, August 1984.
Review by Trisha Fox.
Ian Stuttard, the producer of Thames TV’s series ‘The Troubles’, who has consistently striven to avoid emotive rhetoric used by so many reporters – such as ‘murderers’ and ‘terrorists’ when referring to the IRA – described the depiction of the crew in ‘Acceptable Levels’ as ” wickedly accurate” (they spend most of their time in the sanctuary of the Europa Hotel indulging in drink , food and chatting up women on expense accounts while they apply for more overtime) .
The strongest part of the film is that it does illustrate powerfully the process of self-censorship practised by people within the media as a semi-conscious act , motivated by self-interest and a class/ideological allegiance to the British establishment.