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Crazy exploits of Young Offenders are not far from the truth according to Cork locals

The lives of the Young Offenders is not too far from the reality of young people living in Cork according to three locals of the city.

The Young Offenders is the latest Irish comedy to capture the attention of viewers in both Ireland and the UK.

Crazy exploits of Young Offenders are not far from the truth according to Cork locals

The misadventures of best friends Conor (played by Alex Murphy) and Jock (played by Chris Walley) have won the hearts of viewers as they try to navigate their way through the pitfalls of growing up in one of the toughest parts of Cork.

Although the petty crimes and foolish schemes make for great comedy, their exploits are not too far from the truth for young people in Cork.

The BBC, who produced the show with writer Peter Foott, spoke to three actual Cork locals to see how accurately the show reflects lives in the city.

Susan, 23, is a student and part-time youth worker who has lived her entire life in Cork. She said: “There’s not a lot of opportunity in Cork. If you’re from a middle or upper-class background, then you’ll be OK but working-class young people tend to get left behind.

“If you weren’t a young person, or if you weren’t tied in with young people in some way, then you might not notice how many young people are involved in different types of crime.

“Usually it’s low-level drug dealing after being groomed into it by older people. And loitering, which isn’t a crime, but people tend to get arrested for it nearly every day.”

“It’s crazy. In Cork you can’t walk down the street without seeing someone absolutely out of it and it’s a big problem for young people.

“Organisations do their best to help but there’s a lack of funding and there’s a lack of focus on teenagers.”

Ava is an 18-year-old actress who actually tried to land a part in the show. She explained: “I actually auditioned for it myself, to appear in the second season. I grew up in Cork and it’s pretty accurate in most ways. Plus, it’s just very funny.

“It feels like there are more young people involved… than not involved. They’re just ruining their own future, really.”

“It’s a bit of a disgrace. There should be more opportunities for young people so that they’re not out in the street.

“There’s nothing to do in Cork and youth clubs are only on, like, once or twice a week. You’re just out with your friends and your peers will influence you into things like drugs, robbing bikes, robbing cars and knife crime.”

Jason, 32, works as a teacher in the north side of Cork. He said: “The kids I teach have sometimes faced enormous challenges.

“One of the things that really stood out to me when I watched The Young Offenders was seeing the way Jock gets a lot of abuse from people telling him he’ll never amount to anything. But then, when you dig a bit deeper into his background, you find there’s a lot of trauma there.

“There’s a lot of sadness and, when you get to know him as a character, he’s a very good, decent person.

“I’ve experienced that pattern many times with the young people I work with.

“In the last ten years, we’ve had a recession and then austerity. Funding for youth services has been cut.

“If you take kids now who are in the early years of secondary school – 13 or 14 – they wouldn’t even remember a time before the recession.”

“The economy is supposedly recovering, but that’s just not true for everyone.

“I think it’s more difficult for young people now. When I grew up, there was inequality in society, of course there was, but it didn’t seem as stark.”

If you are not familiar with the Young Offenders, then take a look at some of the best bits from the first series.

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