What a judgemental thread.
How can the cycle be broken?.... maybe it can be broken when we figure out how it was created, and the effects on a community when it is moved to an area where their is no economic or social infastructure. They used the same model in Liverpool 30 years prior to the building of the towers, and the outcome was pretty much the same as it is in Ballymun. If you isolate the people, and fail to include, educate and value, then you create a dysfunctional community.
They are starting to put a bit into it now, in terms of programmes, and employment, and those hideous towers are being pulled down (albeit, being replaced by the same shyte/different colour), but at least it is an investment in the people.... re the people you watched, did you ask yourself what they may have been through before you labelled them 'scumbags'? Are you aware of their experiences? Their upbringing? Their sense of self? There's a lot more to someone than the picture your eyes relay to your brain in the light of a moment.
Incidently, I know a few girls from Ballymun, and they all had it tough, and I wouldnt label them scumbags, they consider them lucky not to have fallen victim of the drink/drug culture that this forgotten community developed, not to mention the various other abuses and violations that seemed to have been quite commonplace.
I think the solution comes in the investment. The cycle will change when the investment does, when people are given an alternative, not everyone will be open to opportunities, so not everyone will be reached. I am not sure exactly how many resources are in place out there, but I am sure there arent enough........ give a man a fish...
The hardened look you refer to, I believe has been created by growing up in a hostile/dangerous environment. The children even have this look, and I think their eyes mirror their experiences and their ability to survive these experiences in whatever way they can, and often, they survive by using coping mechanisms that have been developed within the community.