Some of the housing estates in my town have been celebrating their anniversaries.
What have you.
I didn't celebrate.
The whole thing sickened me.
There is a stink of death in my town.
Too many suicides.
Too many young men taken early.
Too many people fleeing for their lives.
One fellow killing himself by self immolation.
A second fellow doing the same thing just outside of town.
Unexplained accidents in mysterious circumstances.
All that death.
A lad thrown from a moving vehicle.
A man who was at school with me, jumping off the bridge. (He survived and is in a wheelchair and institutionalised.)
This is happening for one reason.
Because our town is ruled by drug gangs.
Because our town is ruled by the IRA.
I ask you.
Why should children in this town have to grow up being offered drugs every day of their lives?
Why should children in this town have to negotiate their way down Main Street past the skanks who offer them drugs, skanks who command a militia that can kill or simply make life unliveable if any child gets the wrong side of them?
On the estates there are plenty of good people.
But there are four gangland families.
And these gangland families have terrorised the town and the region for forty years.
Somebody said to me: "Ah James, they never had a chance."
That's just it.
They have had a chance.
They've had forty years of free houses, free money, free education, free health care, free legal aid and free everything else.
They've had forty years of a chance.
For forty years we've forgiven them, greeted them, patched them up, prayed for them, and tried to wish them well.
And for forty years they have terrorised, poisoned, burgled, raped, violated and killed with impunity.
Here is the news.
Selling drugs to children is murder.
Causing anyone to suicide themselves is murder.
Whenever I hear of someone from my generation killing themselves, I say quietly: "You deserved better than this."
Why do we have suicides in our town?
Because a drug dealer in a big house in the hills wants to have a big house in the hills and nice cars for his porn dealing housebreaking jailbird brothers, his skanger children and his decrepit mistress, without ever doing a day's work in his life.
That drug dealer has corrupted the estates, voluntary organisations and everything else in this god damn town.
Our prayer group is like an encounter group for Rah mobsters.
I'm not joking.
And now he's drawing other drug dealers from Dublin to live here.
Evil drawing evil to itself.
That is why our children die young.
From now on, when people kill themselves in this town, don't shed any crocadile tears, just look up at the drug dealer's big house and remind yourself:
"Looks like you got another one Butch."
Next time you see the corrupt cop walking down main street, the one who ran the town on behalf of the drug dealer for fifteen years, say to yourself: "How many murders is that now Skang?"
Our town is not a lovely place with a great community spirit as the newspapers tell us.
Our town is a place of malicious evil, raw fear, poison and early death.
When tinker gangs ran Portie Lawler, a vulnerable elderly man living alone, out of town on behalf of the local drug dealer, we did nothing.
When hoodlums stabbed Mr Jackman (an attack they staged as revenge for his beating off an earlier robbery attempt) and forced him to sell up his supermarket and flee town, we did nothing.
Some people cowered a bit more than usual, that's all.
Our town is enslaved by drug gangs and the Rah and a satanic hoodlum who's getting older and will soon have to give an account of himself to God.
As will we all.
But the old mobster will just have to explain why he was a murderer and why he poisoned a generation of children in our town.
We'll all have to explain why we did nothing to stop him.
He's not that impressive a fellow.
He could have been easily stopped.
He could still be easily stopped.
The photographs of the anniversaries featuring grinning gang bangers were an insult to the memory of all those who have died because of them or been terrorised by them over the past forty years.
I ask you again.
If our town and its housing estates are so wonderful, why are so many good people killing themselves to get out of here?