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Lay the blame on joyriders not the system

Watching last night’s UTV news discussion on joyriding I was flabbergasted by remarks made by Justice Committee member Conall McDevitt.

Referring to convicted joyriders he said, ‘You spend any amount of time at all in Maghaberry prison or Hydebank Young Offenders and you see young men who have been failed by the system since the age of three or four.’ At this point I expected fellow panel members, Policing Board member Basil McCrea and Father Martin Magill or even presenter Paul Clark, to make some comment but unbelievably Mr McDevitt's comment was allowed to pass!

While any death or injury caused by joyriding is a horrible waste of a life I challenge the assertion that society or the ‘system’ in general is somehow at fault for failing joyriders.

Let’s lay the blame for joyriding firmly where it belongs — at the door of poor parenting, absentee parenting and neglectful uncaring undisciplined parenting. The type of parenting that provides poor role models who readily allow children as young as five to roam the streets late into the night where they witness or get into all kinds of trouble.

Let’s lay the blame on the shoulders of the joyriders themselves who deliberately choose to indulge in this extremely dangerous and selfish activity.

Finally let’s also lay the blame on the shoulders of the courts who continue to hand out ‘slap on the wrist’ sentences to serial joyriding offenders. One interviewed joyrider, spoke of having 160 convictions by the age of 30. Where is the deterrent if someone like this is not removed from society for a long time.

T.J. Mcclean

Belfast Telegraph

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