Biting the hand
People are being attacked at random on the streets, and the Government is worrying about the media being negative.
Is this really happening?
On Monday night a Spanish man, Jordi Roca, and his friends were attacked by a group of young people allegedly wielding items including a golf club, at random, on the street.
It wasn't a sex crime; it wasn't a 'gangland' crime; it wasn't drug-related; he wasn't alone.
None of the usual factors in street crime seem to apply. On the face of it, this attack was completely random. Random, but planned. There aren't any golf courses on White Street.
Mr Roca is recovering, thankfully.
He's not the first non-Irish man to be randomly attacked on the street in Cork late at night.
Last June, Fabio Formisano, an Italian living in Glanmire for 12 years, was attacked on the Grand Parade. Speaking to the Cork Independent, his wife Katherine said the only explanation she could think of was that he and his friends were speaking Italian at the time:
"I wonder if they would have been attacked if they were speaking in Cork accents?" she added.
Cork is home to Apple, EMC, Pfizer, GSK and Boston Scientific, all here to capitalise on our accessibility to European markets. The city has a reputation for friendliness, of which it is very proud, with accolades like the Lonely Planet's Top Ten and the visit of Queen Elizabeth last year to show for it.
Cork hosts thousands of language students every year, brought here by award-winning companies like Partnership Europe and EazyCork and attracted by the benefits of learning the world's main business language in a friendly and safe environment.
In last week's Cork Independent, John Bowman of Cogan International College explained what a growth area language teaching is, and how Cork is benefitting from the legions who come here every year, each spending an estimated €400 per week here. Not to mention tourism.
At the Cork Person of the Year awards on Friday, Minister Simon Coveney told assembled guests that the media needed to be careful about reporting negatively as the world was so globalised that this information was out there in an instant.
Minister Coveney has a point - a friend teaching international students in Limerick told me recently of a Brazilian who refused to visit the city due to its reputation for violent crime (Brazil has almost five times the number of murders per 100,000 people than Limerick). That's €400 per week Limerick lost out on, for purely reputational reasons.
However, the media can only report on what is happening.
Hearing about this, a parent in Bari or Berlin looking for somewhere for their son or daughter to learn English, isn't going to rush to choose Cork.
At the moment the Government is so busy making petty cutbacks to practically everything that it's missing out on the fundamentals. Forget the new internet law; ignore wine being sold in Tesco; prioritise.
Crime prevention starts early; getting more Gardaí on the streets would help, but this needs to be nipped in the bud. Whatever is making young people so violent needs to be addressed, or we're risking a lot more than fuller prisons.