“G’DAY Northern Ireland, on behalf of the backpackers and travellers of Australia we’d like to apologise but we’ll not be clogging up your byways and highways in coming weeks and months, but it seems you’re a violent bunch of cobbers!”
For those of you who haven’t been paying attention to the news, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has advised Aussies travelling to Northern Ireland to be careful not to get caught up in violence, after recent public disorder and dissident Republican attacks.
Which is rich coming from a nation of convict descendants! We mean c’mon they elected a Sheila as PM then had an election which resulted in a hung parliament (we’ll maybe pass over that one!).
Seriously though, we blame the parents. Yes, the parents who let their Aussie offspring spread across the globe.
All of this is a rather convoluted way of saying that the perspective we gain of nations is that of stereotypes. In the 70s and 80s the stereotype of Northern Ireland was of a violent place where only the wary set foot, when in reality the vast majority of the population went on their daily routine.
As we moved towards the tentative peace, and then the ceasefires throughout the 90s and more recently the popularity of ‘Norn Iron’ as destination increased with all the subsequent job creation and boosts to the economy.
But a few nutters (check the footage, there was no more than a hundred or so involved in the pubic disorder at Ardoyne on the Twelfth) can persuade people through the global media that Northern Ireland is a dangerous place.
Perhaps we should retaliate? What about the Northern Ireland Executive issuing advice not to travel to Australia owing to poisonous spiders, sharks, venomous snakes and kangaroos with bad attitudes.