The media is glamourising gangland criminals by giving them nicknames, according to Dublin footballer Philly McMahon.
The eight-time All-Ireland champion was speaking as RTÉ prepares to air its new drama, ‘Kin’ which follows a fictional Dublin family caught up in a gangland war.
He told Newstalk Breakfast that throughout his work with at-risk youths and prisoners, he has never heard anyone say they took up crime because of a drama they saw on television.
He said the way crime is portrayed in the media more generally has more of an impact, alongside people’s personal experiences with crime and law enforcement in their communities.
“I do think there are examples of the way the media glamourise drug dealers, and I think that has happened a lot - they have nicknamed them and they are showing CAB taking a lot of their materialistic things and money - and that does have an effect and it glamourises it and it heightens the opportunity.
“However, I would say there is probably more an impact with, let’s say a young person’s home getting searched or raided, maybe because a family member has been involved in drugs and them then having a bad relationship with the gardaí because they feel they are the enemy.
“The Guards are trying their best in terms of building up relationships with impoverished communities and they have Garda community officers and things like that but ultimately that needs to be looked at.
“I do think … I have ever in my time – and I am dealing with at-risk youths and I am dealing with prisoners in the work I do socially – I have never heard one of them say, I have taken up drug dealing because of Love/Hate.”
He said there can be pros and cons to gangland dramas.
“There is no doubt that when you watch some of these series that when you are form areas where you see poverty and you see criminality you can kind of relate and see some of things happening.
“You can probably at some stages you kind of know some of the stories and you can picture some of the people in these stories and you know where they are coming from.
“That can very relatable and that can be very serious and have impacts on young people or families that have been impacted by crime. So that can be quite difficult for communities that can relate to these shows.
“Sometimes also it can open your eyes if there is truth to what is going on as well though.”
He said there are much bigger factors leading young people towards drug dealing in Irish communities.
“Poverty being one, generational cycles, trauma and all these things – and drug dealing can be seen as the opportunity in impoverished communities,” he said.
He said crime is often glamourised in a young person’s mind from a young age.
“It is generational,” he said.
“Some of these young people have seen their parents or seen some of their siblings going down that route or their friends,” he said.
“This is the fast-track to success for them because they have very little.
“So when we talk about glamorisation because of a documentary, it can, it definitely can but I am sure there is a lot more, if we were nit-picking at these series we should be looking a bit deeper to what has happened over generations and why it is still happening and why are prisons are still getting busier rather than just nit-picking at TV shows.”
You can listen back here:
Main image shows Dublin’s Philly McMahon during the GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Launch in Dublin, 05-08-2021. Image: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile