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"They're only kids"

Kilkenny, Ireland, 2008 —

"They'll say 'they're only kids,'" the head of security at Superquinn told me.

That's what people who don't want to do anything say about the vandalism and littering between the shopping center and the medieval city wall.

Only kids — but the guards don't go back there. The guards (police) will not pass between the back of Market Cross Shopping Centre and the old city wall. "Only kids" — but the guards won't go near them.

It's not that these kids are dangerous — it's just that they have an attitude like nobody is going to do anything to them if they shout insults, vandalize property, or paint graffiti without any skill or artful creativity.

I have never seen one pair of beat-cops walk the area. I've brought them, as have others — but they do not normally pass through this neighborhood, even though there is none more central.

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