So Close and Yet Worlds Apart






As you can see from the map above the two cities of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso are exceptionally close but their location is about the only similarity these two cities share. Ciudad Juarez is in Mexico and is embroiled in a vicious drug cartel power struggle and has one of the highest murder rates of any city in the world. Whereas El Paso, Texas is ranked consistently as one of the United States safest cities. It made international news and caused outrage when a stray bullet from Ciudad Juarez managed to strike El Paso’s City Hall. It seems staggering that so much inequality can exist in two cities only minutes apart.

Yet what about our City- the City of Dublin does this inequality exist here?


The answer is yes it does.

Compass works with young men from all over the city of Dublin who have spent time in prison for the crimes that they have committed. A large proportion of these young men though are concentrated in the North Inner City area of Dublin 1 and it is here that you can most vividly see the contrast and the inequality that exists in our city. Drug abuse and crime are rampant in this area- even as I have waited outside houses to pick up one of the young men Compass works with it has not been uncommon for me to have been offered drugs by a young gang member passing by. Compass supports two brothers from this area and they both have spent serious time in prison and various youth detention centres. The older brother describes what it was like for him growing up in this area:

“It was tough, hanging around with all the other young fellas doing drugs. My own Da was on drugs I had to watch him take a bad road- doing drugs, hitting my Ma and stealing from our house.”

These two brothers have grown up in Dublin 1 in terrible circumstances where entire communities are ravaged by fear, drug abuse and criminality and yet only a stone’s throw away still in Dublin 1 we have the IFSC and many other important financial services that are so vital to this City’s wealth and development. It seems staggering that so much inequality can exist in our City with such contrasting fortunes only minutes away.

Compass is trying to close this gap of inequality and we would love your help. Of the two brothers one is back in prison serving another sentence and we would love volunteers to help us run activities in prison to reach him and others in similar situations. The other brother is currently doing well in our post release mentoring programme and we would also love help reaching out to young men like him as they transition from prison back into their communities.

For more information check out our volunteer page or email  

Tim Gaston - Compass