I’ll get straight to the point. The uber-wealthy town of Dalkey on the south coast of Dublin is whiter than the driven snow and it’s unbearable. The true victims of this festering reality are of course the residents of Dalkey themselves.
Yes, they can sit on their private jetties dressed head to toe in organic linen washing down local Irish charcuterie with aperol spritz, gentle waves lapping over the rocks and receding with a fizz while sailboats visible as little triangles move across the sparkling horizon like a slow motion ballet. Yes, they can afford to frequent the many fine restaurants on a near-daily basis. Feeling peckish? Nothing in the fridge? Grab your panama hat, and saunter out for a delicate pan-fried lemon sole or wild mushroom linguine. Just a snack, Iseult.
Perhaps, more importantly, they can enjoy the abundant social capital Dalkey has to offer. Great schools and doctors, great facilities. Non-white-collar crime is virtually unheard of, so the streets are safe, and any misfortunate heroin addicts or beggars who wander south from Dublin City are quickly returned by Gardaí. A pride of place is reflected in a visible respect for community aesthetic and cleanliness. No grotty houses, no inappropriately modern buildings or facades. There are barely any chains in Dalkey. Shops and restaurants are local artisan with delicious and nourishing produce. But is this enough?
I don’t think so. What use are these trifling niceties when you are almost devoid of what is touted to be the world’s most valuable resource? Why pretend everything is okay when it’s painfully obvious you’re missing the key ingredient? A renewable energy source for the engine that will drive Dalkey into the future, an elixir of society itself. I am of course talking about diversity.
Thomas Berry once said “The greater the diversity, the greater the perfection.” Imagine not having that. According to former Google vice president, Chief Technology Officer of the United States and lesbian Megan Smith, diversity gets the best results. A woman in her position knows what she’s talking about and with the collective business savvy in Dalkey, they too will be sorely aware of what results their community is missing out on. Hillary Clinton no less famously ran for president with the slogan “Diversity is our strength”. Who doesn’t want strength? More strength please! Finally, Bono (a resident of Dalkey) co-founded the One Foundation with Jamie Drummond who believes a tide of African migration to Europe is inevitable and a “good thing” because it will provide the “youthful energy” we need to “do stuff”. Hard to argue with that. Except, it won’t be fair if Dalkey continues to be discriminated against in this regard.
Bono is exquisitely placed here. With close ties to the Irish Government and its immigration NGOs, his residence in Dalkey and his foundation’s stated views he could be just the man to coordinate several busloads of Africans into Dalkey. He could even cosponsor a Direct Provision centre or apartment complexes for “own door” accommodation. Dalkey resident, radio broadcaster and noted admirer of Diversity in Balbriggan Pat Kenny might join him.
If for some reason this falls through, I have a plan B, so lean in close. Word has it that in 2018 ‘social justice activist’ Denise Charlton lodged an objection with local county council against plans to build 19 flats and seven houses on a 1.5-acre site encompassing her parents’ former home and a house owned by her sister. She claimed the proposed estate would devalue her nearby home at Bloyke Harbour. Denise must have suspected the properties would be filled with yet more wealthy white Irish, the last thing Dalkey needs any more of! A seasoned social justice activist like her would be keenly aware of that, but here’s the beauty of it.
Denise is a former chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland. What luck! All we need do is guarantee her the properties will be filled exclusively with G-star wearing, drug dealing, human trafficking Albanian and Georgian men aged 18-35, and based on what she herself has facilitated for the rest of Ireland, she’ll be all in. 19 flats and 6 houses of diversity, aka human gold. She would be the toast of the town.
Of course sceptics and bigots will call me a bleeding heart do-gooder and ask for ‘proof’ of this discrimination against Dalkey (they always do). Well let’s start with Ballinamore Co. Leitrim, a marginalised rural town population 914. In 2019, the Department of Justice blessed Ballinamore with the announcement that 130 asylum seekers who are disproportionately young men from countries such as Georgia and Albania (which is basically an organised crime zone with a country attached to it) and several non-conflict African nations. In the following weeks the state’s generosity and fondness for Ballinamore was laid bare.
Once word as to the intended occupants for the Ballinamore property development had become known locally, it was beset by a 24-hour non-stop protest which had been preceded by an alleged attempt to burn down the premises. While many supported the migrant complex, a small minority consisting of a near-total majority of the community were against it and having explored every proper and democratic avenue had only civil disobedience left to turn to. They erected fences around the site to halt work, and reportedly even glued the door locks, much to the chagrin of the property developers Remcoll Capital. Indeed the Government must have been perplexed. So perplexed they slapped 6 of the protesters who ranged from pharmacist to local politician with court injunctions. Sometimes when a loved one doesn’t appreciate your generous gift to the point of protesting it 24/7 in the cold for an entire month, a punch in the kidney helps them to understand your love.
There are countless examples like this. If you’re interested, I did a whole video documenting them but for now the point is clear – Dalkey is being left behind. I happen to believe the media are in on it too. Along with basically all other powerful institutions, though I have no idea why. Much like the American rust belt and once mighty coal towns of Northern England, Dalkey and its coastal peers, without full enrichment, will end up a purposeless zone in the global rear view.
Maybe I’m exaggerating the whiteness of Dalkey, I hear you plead. It can’t be that bad? Unfortunately I’m not, it is, and the facts don’t lie. The poor creatures live a veritable bowl of rice krispies. According to CityPopulation, Dalkey Upper is 98.2% white, with only 2 black bodies. That source is arguably dubious so let’s cross reference with other heuristics. Take this video, the clearest example of a YouTube vlogger simply and silently walking around Dalkey. Feel free to do this yourself, but I counted 88 people only one of whom is conceivably a person of colour, but could as easily be a swarthy Irishman with old Galician roots. Either way, whiteness in the high 90%s
You’re still not convinced? Wow. Okay, let’s look at a few slices of community life. Dalkey Book festival was co-founded by economist David McWilliams and is sponsored by Zurich Insurance Group. It puts on a brave face by presenting as diverse. As sure as day follows night you will find a black female poet on a panel discussion dressed like a wizard, but don’t let that fool you. It is taken as a whole appallingly white.
Also very white, the Dalkey Vintage and Classic Car Festival.
Failing to take immediate steps could have several harmful consequences. Firstly without a diversity stimulus, Dalkey will quickly become a cultureless, economically dilapidated wasteland. From here we could see rising rates of Malbec dependency and massive croissant lines. This could be a fertile breeding ground for demagogues, and we know where that leads. Conversely, the extreme whiteness of Dalkey could be falsely misinterpreted in wider society as class warfare, whereby an ‘elite’ capital-owning and corporate class replace native lower classes with a new more malleable and rootless underclass of workers and consumers, while protecting their own exclusive zones from the consequences. A vile narrative bigots would be happy to fuel, stir, spew, provoke and spread.
No one wants a town known for its welcoming charm dragged through the mud by bad actors so it’s incumbent on the people of Dalkey to actively disprove these smears by demonstrating how many people of colour they can welcome as quickly as possible. Permit new builds if they are to be for migrants, ideally non-skilled poorly vetted young men. Consider throwing open the doors of your own home, and not for that urbane refugee activist BIPOC your friend knows but for the randomly selected migrant, the kind of one who ends up in Carrickmacross.
In terms of community events, there is a lot of room for improvement. Remember, diversifying your local cultural life can only be a good thing both for you and the diversity. Lest these charming festivals be seen as a sort of creepy white supremacist masonic “Get Out” or Aryan Handmaids tale, it is suggested you rapidly diversify these events, ideally with black folks from west Dublin, while being mindful to assure your new guests they are indeed safe and will not be sacrificed to Odin. For the Book festival I would recommend using promoted posts on irishdrilltv Instagram and hosting a few rap artists in the marquee to draw a crowd, and similar with the Classic cars. Perhaps a “Get your selfie in a Porsche. Oh my days!” promotion. These are the kind of positive steps that could have helped troubled boys like George Nkencho to feel more welcome. Finally, consider hiring marginalised groups where possible, for example Roma folks to do cloakroom.
With all that said, a town can only do so much itself. The underlying problem is a heavy bias across all powerful institutions against Dalkey and similar areas. State-funded NGOs rarely if ever call for high-income areas to receive their fair share of the spoils. The media never write stories about racism in these communities. Perhaps in spite of the glaring homogeneity it simply doesn’t exist in Dalkey like it does in poorer marginalised suburbs and rural towns. That must be it.
When pressed, these anti-Dalkey media and NGO shills will fall back on the same threadbare excuses. “We would love to give Dalkey a slice of the pie, we really would, but property there is simply too expensive and would be an inefficient use of taxpayer money”. I’ve already outlined how Dalkey individuals such as Bono could fund local initiatives. Local councils too could step up to the task. Diversity after all is an investment with guaranteed returns.
Beyond that, our State spends literally billions on anti-racism, diversity, integration, immigration and asylum. The idea that having a margin a mere six or even seven figures wider on a project once in a blue moon is the uniquely prohibitive factor is laughable. Another paltry excuse is that a rogue Dalkey resident would stare a gift horse in the mouth and submit vexatious planning objections against, let’s say, a Direct Provision centre. Well that’s been tried in Rooskey, Ballinamore, Lisdoonvarna, Wicklow town to name a few and thankfully been struck down each time, much to the delight of the vast majority of zero people locally. They must have been well connected to get those squashed, unlike poor auld voiceless Dalkey who would have no such luck.
I refuse to believe Dalkey have willingly starved themselves of diversity to date (they’re not insane). Something else is afoot. Dalkey has been ignored by the State and the media, ignored for too long, and while they have maintained a stiff upper lip in the face of this inequality I think it’s time for the rest of us to stand up for those who cannot do so for themselves. We must speak truth to power even if our voice shakes. We must support #Diversity4Dalkey as friends of the community.
Dr Martin Luther King once had a dream. I too have a dream, if you’ll allow me to paint you a picture. During the Ballinamore debacle in the winter of 2019, locals noted that the migrant enrichment injection would constitute 15% of their population. It was 15% too in Lisdoonvarna, and they were brought in by bus at night with Garda escort. Now 15% of Dalkey is 1212 people. Just think of that, a convoy of 24 large buses packed with “youthful energy” ready to “do stuff” snaking up the narrow hills into the beating heart of Dalkey town. Local onlookers crying tears of joy as Bono, Denise Charlton, and Pat Kenny roll out the red carpet, finally getting their fair share of what they’ve so kindly facilitated and promoted to the rest of us. The fruits of their labour.
So the next time you hear about Diversity and inclusion, immigration and integration, make your voice heard for Dalkey and similar areas. On social media, at the dinner table – remind people of their plight and the fight for change. Perhaps one day we will go there with placards and a megaphone to raise awareness for the campaign #Diversity4Dalkey #DalkeyDirectProvision, and they will be ever so grateful.
Cover Image – Matthias v.d. Elbe