Regardless of what you think about Geldof today, he has been on the ball a few times down the years.
His 1980 single ‘Banana Republic’, with that great reggae bassline, summed up the country quite well and rallied against all the ills of nationalist, conservative Ireland:
And I wonder do you wonder while you’re sleeping with your whore?Sharing beds with history is like licking runnin’ soresForty shades of green yeah, sixty shades of redHeroes going cheap these days, price a bullet in the head
Banana Republic, Septic Isle Sufferin’ in the screamin’ sea, sounds like dyin’Everywhere I go, yeah everywhere I seeThe black and blue uniforms, Police and Priests
In 1985, Geldof was honoured with a civic reception go mark his African famine relief work. In front of the Lord Mayor, the City Manager and other dignitaries, he rallied against the destruction of his home town:
This city has become increasingly brutalised. The people have lost some of their openness, and I think a lot is largely due to the destruction of the city itself, which was once one of the prettiest cities in these islands and is now a shambolic mess, at best.
Tomorrow, I have to bring some of the BBC around the city to show them some of the things I remember and love about the place. Unfortunately, when I went through the list of my memories, 50 per cent of the things I liked had disappeared, to be replaced by the most mediocre, unaesthetic, architecturally inarticulate buildings I’ve ever seen in my life. They are a scandal. They can only be the product of back-handers, political corruption and moral degradation.
His words ring true today as they did then:
When a city is being destroyed by its custodians, then what are the people who live in it supposed to think? The brutalisation seeps through, in the increased use of drugs, which is epidemic in this city, the street violence and the rudeness that is almost everywhere. And I’m sorry if my image clashes with the tourist image of it, but that’s what I’ve seen over thirty-two years. As I say, it’s very nice to come home and it’s particularly nice to be honoured in this way. But please stop destroying Dublin, and please get rid of those buildings that offend us all, that make us so depressed. And, please, bring back to this city some of the life and beauty that was there when I grew up with, and make it somewhere that’s nice to come home to…
The above quote was taken from Frank McDonald’s must-read The Destruction of Dublin, published in 1985.