Be A Dissident Against Racism And Hatred

David McSweeeney looks at racism in the North. David McSweeney occasionally writes for TPQ.

In the wake of the Brexit vote, and to a backdrop of racial violence across Britain, initially especially directed at the Polish community, journalist Fionnuala O Connor wrote “a share of the haters clearly felt licensed by the Brexit victory, took the vote at its word, and expected rapid expulsion of all foreigners”. Fionnuala knows, there has always been a licence to hate in one little part of the “kingdom”.

Take a snapshot in time: its 2006 a decade ago, the NI Council for Ethnic Minorities has just published a report on racist hate crime. Robbie Mc Veigh, the report author, called for change in the justice system. He said: “The Public Prosecution Service still can’t tell you if anyone has been prosecuted by them for racially motivated crime.” He continued: “that’s just an appalling admission that’s really ridiculous in a situation where Northern Ireland has been identified as the race hate capital of Europe”

Race hate capital of Europe.

Fast forward to 2014: figures show two racist attacks a day were reported in the six counties, reported being the important word here, as the majority of incidents go unreported. A surge in racist attacks happened in 2014. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph in April of that year in relation to the attacks, a senior RUC/PSNI figure was quoted as saying the hate crimes “leave the unpleasant taste of ethnic cleansing.” in the same article, the paper quoted the RUC/PSNI as saying “it (RUC/PSNI) was in no doubt about the involvement of paramilitary groups, notably the UVF”.

In 2006 The Observer newspaper surveyed all reported racist attacks carried out between January 2005 and September 2006. It found that 90% of attacks happened in Loyalist areas.

The murder of Jo Cox MP further exposed the relationship between far right fascist organisations and Loyalism/ Unionism in Ireland. Ms Cox’s killer had spoken in support of the apartheid regime in South Africa as well as Loyalism in Ireland. Thomas Mair is just one example of the links between the far right in Britain and Loyalism. In 2013 Liverpool Irish community group Cairde Na hEireann published a report entitled “Under Pressure” which outlined racist attacks targeting the Irish community in the city. Far right groupings and Loyalist sympathisers were exposed as being behind the campaign.

People being told to “go home” was a running theme in much of the racial abuse post Brexit. Individual examples caught on camera were posted on social media. Many British people expressed their real and sincere repulsion at such acts. 

Another snapshot in time: this time it is Hampden Park, Glasgow on the 31st of January 2015. The city’s two biggest teams are playing. This club fixture is one of the most media covered fixtures in world football. Thousands upon thousands of fans from one of the clubs, Newco Rangers, as evidenced by TV cameras sing deeply racist and sectarian songs, namely The Billy Boys and The Famine song. It is worth sharing some of the lyrics of the Famine song:

Now they raped and fondled their kids
That’s what those perverts from the dark side did
And they swept it under the carpet
And Large John he hid
Their evil seeds have been sown
Cause they are not of our own
Well the Famine is over
Why don’t you go home?

The Billy Boys song was also belted out in Scotland’s National stadium that January afternoon. This is an ode of appreciation to Fascist gang leader Billy Fullerton, who set up a branch of the Ku Klux Klan in Glasgow in the 1930s. “We are up to our knees in Fenian Blood” the song declares.

Thousands of people together openly venting the most vile racist venom in a stadium where they are easily identifiable. Most fans bought tickets for this cup game through a season ticket allocation run by their club. Seat numbers matched with personal details.

Police Scotland did not arrest one person for the singing of these songs.

The relevance of this to the post Brexit situation is that Police Scotland, part of the British Police Federation, which is telling people they will not tolerate racism and hate crime. Sadly, yes they will.

The Scottish Football Association took no action against Newco Rangers for the racism of their fans.

Five years earlier, James Traynor writing in Scotland’s largest selling newspaper The Daily Record dismissed concerns about the Famine Song, describing it as “banter”. The different ethnic groups under attack now in Britain can get used to such shameful rationalisations for what they are experiencing.

Is there a media corporation anywhere in the world who would commission a situation comedy based on genocide? Indeed there is. Channel 4 commissioned a programme it labelled a “comedy” called “Hungry” which will find the humour in at least two million Irish people dying or leaving their country during the Famine. There is deep racism in official Britain.

Cardiff in Wales is home to a population where nearly 30% of people are of Irish descent. In 2014 Police in Cardiff named an educational project to be run out in with children in primary schools around dog fouling as “Operation Irish”. The Welsh Labour MP, Paul Flynn commented at the time, “the choice of operation Irish as the name for an educational programme on dog mess is an act of Olympian stupidity”. No Paul, naked institutional racism is what it is.

Jo Cox was a very brave opponent of Islamophobia. In the days following her murder the BNP issued leaflets in the areas of Cox’s consistency claiming, in effect, that she had brought the actions of Mair upon herself. 

It is the same BNP that is active in league with Loyalist groups causing racial hate carnage in the north of Ireland. British government Deputy First Minister Martin Mc Guinness name checked the BNP as being in league with “known UVF drug dealers” in a press statement following a particularly violent bout of flag protesting two years ago. 

In 2014 a Ku Klux Klan flag flew over East Belfast. Its erection was preceded with vicious racist attacks on homes in the area.

The Orange Order is exempt from rates in the north of Ireland. From 2006 to the present they have avoided rates to the sum of £ 8.12 million. The Orange Order also receives other funding from the state.

Last year, 2015, Eddie McIwaine a convicted Shankill Butcher, was an official Orange Order steward at a March in Belfast. The march passed within a very short distance from where McIwaine had carried out his crimes. The Butchers among other heinous acts attempted to decapitate some of their victims. There were 19 victims in all randomly selected, who were tortured and murdered with knives, hatchets meat cleavers among other implements. The reaction if the grouping and individuals who murdered Lee Rigby in England were to be granted state funding, and allowed steward marches on public streets in furtherance of their hate agenda can only be imagined.

The same year John Aughey, a senior Belfast Orangeman, attempted to murder several young people by driving his car at them in the Ardoyne area. Two young women sustained serious injuries. Aughey was charged with attempted murder for the incident. Mr Aughey had been an official Orange Order negotiator in relation to parades previously; he also shared public platforms with representatives of the political wings of the UVF and UDA.

The generalised blind eye by both “official” Ireland and Britain to hate cults in the north of Ireland is not only unsavoury, cowardly, and repulsive, it is deadly. Why are the representatives of the Orange Order, UVF and UDA funded and wined and dined by state representatives? The murders of Robert Hamill and Kevin Mc Daid are case studies in the price real people pay for organised hatred. It is important to note that Portadown and Coleraine are two of the areas in the north worst affected by race crime. It is also vital to be clear about the role played by the RUC/PSNI in both murders.

It is salutary to note that two of the favoured acts encouraged by ISIS to their supporters are beheadings and to attack crowds, using cars to cause terror death and injury. In Ireland we are asked to accept it as “cultural expression”.

The 2016 Ballycraigy Eleventh night Bonfire in Co Antrim included racist slogans, one being “Foreigners out” and another using the word “nigger”. 

Just in case fear and tension was not high enough leading up to the twelfth, leading Democratic Unionist Party member Gregory Campbell posted the following on Facebook in early July:

Someone, told me that Celtic are due to play on the 12th, in Gibraltar. That info was ok but wasn’t sure what he meant when he hoped that it wouldn’t be like the last time Irish Republican sympathisers went to Gibraltar and lost.

DUP racism and religious hatred are a given

In 2001 the DUP stood aside to allow Jim Dixon stand as an Independent Unionist in the Fermanagh/ South Tyrone constituency. Dixon supported Apartheid South Africa, an unapologetic racist and hate mongering regime.

Least any of Paisley Snrs supporters fret that his bigotry has died with him, there is Ian Paisley Jnr.

In a 2007 interview Paisley Jnr stated “I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong. I think that those people harm themselves and, without caring about it, harm society”. Given a chance by David Dimbley in 2013 on “Question Time” to retract his statement Paisley stood by it, fully.

Two years previously Paisley Jnr had made personal attacks on Stephen King, a then adviser to the Ulster Unionist Party, for getting married to his gay partner. Paisley was Justice Spokesman for the DUP at the time. His statement with regard to King’s marriage included “most people in Northern Ireland find homosexual relationships offensive and indeed obnoxious”. 

First Minister at the time Peter Robinson reacts in to a hate campaign against a Nigerian man in Knocknagoney, Belfast in 2014. Groups congregate outside Michael Abiona’s house, they also hang sheets with various messages, among them “locals first” outside the house. The RUC/PSNI when pressured by anti racism groups, confirm they are dealing with the picket outside the Abionna home as a hate crime. Robinson’s public statement on the issue says, “I’m not sure this can be described as racism in terms of what the intention of the local people was”.

The same year and still First Minister, Robinson felt the need to come to the aid of and show solidarity with Pastor James Mc Connell. The Belfast Telegraph had revealed the content of a sermon given by Mc Connell at a service in Belfast. The Pastor had said “Islam is heathen, Islam is satanic, Islam is a doctrine spawned in hell”. In response to the local media, Robinson confirmed he had visited the church several times and would do so again. In relation to Pastor Mc Connell, Robinson stated “There isn’t an ounce of hatred in his bones; this is someone who preaches the gospel”.

As I finish writing this Theresa May has just become the British Prime Minister. In 2013, May as British Home Secretary, commissioned and funded a program which drove advertising vans, targeted at immigrants around six London boroughs. The billboards on the vans contained the message “Go Home or face arrest”. May is also on record as supporting the overturning of a whole raft of Human Rights Legislation that is binding on the British state. Why would she do this?

No doubt all the “process” lovers will point out to May that the removal of this Human Rights protection leaves the GFA even more useless than it already is.

Be a Dissident against this racial and religious hatred wherever you are, whoever you are.


  1. Depressingly simplistic and one sided article.

  2. Belfastdesk,

    a response perhaps?

  3. I bet the Government loves legislating on giving offense. Only hateful racists should worry right?
    I jest. My freedom of speech is more important than anyone's right to not be offended. There are laws enough for directing violence and violence itself. You aren't shaming authorities by naming them here, you are doing their bidding.

  4. I would be seriously worried about the implications for freedom of expression and inquiry that flow from this article.

    I very much subscribe to the Stephen Fry perspective:

    It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?

  5. In 2006 The Observer newspaper surveyed all reported racist attacks carried out between January 2005 and September 2006. It found that 90% of attacks happened in Loyalist areas...

    One could imagine the response the victims would get if they brought the PSNI around their doors in Nationalist areas! What a ridiculously biased article. Only 'loyalists' are racists it seems to imply. Bullshit. They are just too scared to report racism in Nationalist areas.

    Another 'we have been sinned against but we have never sinned' trip article.

    The DUP are twats though.

    Out of curiosity, are there lots of Poles and other immigrants in Nationalist areas back home?

  6. Steve,
    it is ever so tiny winy biased...just ever so slightly....although I don't think calling for facts and figures from Nationalist areas would have gave it balance. It would have just made it mundane. Perhaps there are no racist facts or figures from Nationalist areas!
    Years ago, when I was working abroad I once met a whole bunch of migrants that were so fuck'n racist it was embarrassing at times. They were Irish!

  7. In an article talking about racism the 'N' word featured once. I have experienced racism here in Letterkenny, or should I say my wife from the Philippines has, on several occasions. As has my friends Romanian wife. I can assure you the nacker Irish are in a league of their own at it, believe me. As for Celtic and Rangers, I have said before they don't do racism in Glasgow they do sectarianism and they do it exceptionally well. After an Old Firm game a Rangers fan was trailed off a double-decker bus for banging the windows and shouting sectarian abuse at us standing outside our hotel after the game. That was my experience of the Glasgow Police. The lad was taken away in a police van. Poles are a target of loyalists I think primarily because they are Catholic also. Sectarianism again. I honestly have to agree with Nial, in my experience the Irish are shocking when abroad. A Cork lad I was drinking with in London said the blacks in the pub should be hanging out of trees by the tail. Deliberately out loud and was only ignored because of his size and menace. I am as joyfully sectarian as anyone for 90 minutes at an Old Firm match but that carry on in London was different. I felt sullied in his company myself. Maybe that's the difference in being a nationalist and a low life racist I don't quite know. Or maybe the Caribbean blacks did nothing to me and maybe I just hate fucking huns. Who knows?

  8. Well you definitely hate Prods I'll give you that Larry!

    Turns out the young Irish have made a bit of a bad name for themselves down here. They apparently get blind drunk and wreck the place. They also have been accused of thieving while doing some 'door to door' work knocking- think this was some scheme of the Aussie Government?- not sure. Felt ashamed when I was told this by our neighbours. Haven't met anybody here from back home yet to ask them but sure, early doors yet.

    Older Australians are very bloody racist though! Shocked me. They dig into the Greeks/Italians 'Wogs' as they call them and are strangely blind to Aboriginals. It's a weird 'racism dressed up as friendly banter' but I can't tell if they are taking the piss or not.

    You and your mate ordering your women online Larry?

  9. Niall,

    I read this article a while ago.

    Racism is everywhere. People are ar*eholes.

  10. Steve Ricardos

    My wife was working in Manila at the De los Santos Hospital where she was a physiotherapist and also lectured the subject when I met her. 90 million RCs in the Philippines and I took a shine to a Protestant there. Couldn't make it up. I was traveling via the Philippines to and from Borneo when we met. The rest is history. My friend's wife was already in Ireland, Letterkenny when they met. She is an accountant. She wasn't selling flowers if you were wondering although that has been said to them in pubs. I met him at University. But cheers for the remark Steve, illuminating on your part and just shows the Irish nackers are not alone by any means.

    I think the older generation Aussies are a throw back to Empire and colonialism. The mindset probably a continuation of that. I cannot say I understand the younger Irish generation unless it has to do with austerity and job competition. Sometimes that brings out the darker side of the societal underbelly. Has Australia suffered with the global recession? I had thought it fared quite well to be honest.

    On the sectarian side, as I say I loved the Old Firm games and unlike many a Celtic fan I refuse to call the Rangers team Sevco. The support was betrayed several times over by financial criminals but that support is phenomenal and I for one am glad to see them back. Warburton is a good manager and has made quite a few signings. Celtic will pay for their hibernation recently. However the standard is dire and they both would likely struggle in the Championship. My English buddy and I are heading for Leeds and Nottingham Forest this year. I simply can't bring myself to give Celtic the money. Zero ambition and respect for the fans. But I have drank for days on end with Rangers fans in Spain and elsewhere. That's another reason I don't understand the racism of Irish abroad, if we 'sporting' sectarian heads can get along abroad what's with the racism in a new country? Especially when the Irish tend to do so well career wise away from Ireland. Basically Steve have no time for the institutional loyalism or the Orange Order in the wee six counties. They disgust me. That is where I draw the line and why I could never support N. Ireland soccer team. For|me that would be to condone a fascist Orange history.

  11. Larry calm down I was taking the piss.

    I think the older generation here are just reacting typically to influx of 'new' people. Apparently there was huge migration growth from the 60/70's and this is were the older Gen get it from.

    The younger ones don't give a monkeys it seems. They all tend to mix apart from the Muslims.

    None of them have any allegiance to Britain though, they are all proud Australians. Mrs Windsor is viewed as being something on TV and of no relevance, the Union flag just a 'thing' on their Australian flag.

    Turns out the Australians had a labour government during the GFC, and believe it or not they gave every Citizen a thousand bucks to spend to act as a economic stimulus!

    An outrageous idea that bloody worked! Australia avoided the recession and in fact INCREASED its credit rating to AAA with Standard and Poor. The Labour treasurer at the time won some award for this balls out move. Obviously the Conservatives here (confusingly called 'Liberals') went absolutely ballistic at this. But like Tories everywhere, 'F*ck 'em'.

    I kind of lost interest in Rangers during the 90's as I'm more of a Chelsea man, but I agree with what you say. Disgusting what was done to that club. I managed to watch a Rangers game down here at the weekend and they did seem to play well, but the standard of football in Scotland is very poor indeed. They wouldn't cut it in the English second div if you ask me.

    Leeds? Another once proud and huge team shafted by financial mismanagement. Miss the days of Cloughie at Forest, he was always good value for punching someone, usually his own fans!

  12. Steve Ricardos

    My own relations went to Australia on the £10 ticket. Sons born there all ended up policemen or own businesses. I believe China had/have an agreement whereby they buy minerals and raw materials and as part of that Australia agreed to 100,000 Chinese immigrants per year. Muslims refusing to mix? How very un-PC of you, that's an awful thing to say. Yer on a roll. lol

  13. " I believe China had/have an agreement whereby they buy minerals and raw materials and as part of that Australia agreed to 100,000 Chinese immigrants per year."

    Nope, that's fear mongering by the right down here. China has been buying up large farms and other primary industries but they are all checked by the Government. The minerals and raw materials China requires anyway so they will put little preconditions on them.

    The biggest ba*tard is the Chinese coming here and buying houses, making housing affordability here out of reach for the locals. House prices here are obscene. We bought a house recently and I asked our broker what the chances of a crash are. He said that the banks got burned badly by the GFC so when the Chinese come and buy they must invest physical cash. This shores up the market so it may 'cool' it won't burst.

    Flip side to that is that the Australian born Chinese hate the mainland Chinese now, because they are pricing them out of the market too!

    The Muslims tend to go to Islamic schools and stay insular. The Jewish tend to go to Jewish schools but mix easier. The rest go to either Public or Private schools and mix easily.

    Too old to care about being PC. If you are offended by something its YOUR problem, not mine. Far too many use it as an excuse to avoid recourse. Always call out stupidity were you see it. Never be afraid to be thought arrogant but ALWAYS be prepared to change your mind if new evidence contradicts your position.

    Still, I f*cking hate Tories! lol

  14. A few points:

    The race hate capital of Europe tag is just rubbish. Although it continues to be repeated by my understanding it stems from a newspaper headline which has come to be treated as truth when there was little/no evidence to back it up. Just because NI is now seeing higher race hate figures doesn’t necessarily mean we have a much greater problem than other areas. Many countries do little to nothing to record hate crime. I’ve heard of some eastern European countries which say ‘we don’t have a problem with race hate’ - the reason they can say that is because they don't record it!

    The article quotes the figure of 90% of racist attacks happening in loyalist areas. However the areas where there are higher levels of hate attacks are those that are deprived and which have higher proportions of BME people. In the north these tend to be traditionally PUL areas as that is where the housing is – there is less available housing in nationalist areas. That offers some explanation.

    Another point is that all the experts say that race hate crime continues to be highly underreported. In the north this is the case even more so in nationalist areas (across the board). The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence... There are plenty of examples of racism in cnr areas and many down south but none of these seem to be worth of mention in the article, probably because they don’t fit the writer’s narrative.

    No doubt there has been some involvement of elements in loyalist paramilitary groups however it is only a small number of people. If the article was being balanced it would say the perpetrators are not in any way a representative number. It might also mention the growing number of loyalist anti racism initiatives among loyalist groups....Again no doubt there have been links between loyalist groups and far right groups. However one could also talk about links between republican groups and fundamentalist terrorist groups...

    I find it slightly incredible that the article talks about Rangers fans, billy boys, famine song etc but completely fails to mention that there are many parallel examples on the other side. Also, stating a TV programme as evidence of deep racism in official Britain seems slightly laughable. One could find examples to support this sort of narrative in most countries against most different communities/religions.

    The ‘hate cults’ point could also equally include many on the republican side. Most of the other examples mentioned would also have many equivalents on the republican side. I would actually say it is ironic that an article seeking to highlight racism is written in a way that openly seems to display quite a deep anti-British bigotry. The writer clearly has a certain world view and then goes out of his way to highlight selective aspects that support that view.

    I’m not saying the PUL community or British state doesn’t have a problem or responsibility with racism but the article is just a complete misrepresentation in seeking to blame them and therefore absolve others. Racism also exists in the CNR community, in the south, and in all communities and countries. Saying otherwise is wrong, unhelpful and dangerous, and risks leading to complacency within communities.

    The elephant in the room is perhaps that the largest hate crime figures in NI continue to be with sectarianism, something which has been termed by some as being a type of racism and which has and continues to be perpetrated by ‘both’ communities – ‘we’re not racist we’re sectarian’ - but that’s probably another discussion....

  15. Steve Ricardos

    No PC issues here, I don't do it. But what's this you fukn hate the tories....? WHAT!! The Conservative and Unionist Party.... shock horror surely not.

  16. Larry,

    Keep up,I'm more a Socialist these days!lol

  17. Steve Ricardos

    Socialism will never 'fly' in Ireland. But the EU frontier may be relocated to Rathlin island and Unionists permitted to keep their GB passports and identity in an all Ireland EU arrangement. They may even be allowed to march home the traditional route as part of the deal lol

  18. Larry,

    Can't see it to be honest. The Union won't change unless by consent in the 6.

    Nobody wants a border though, funny watching the powers that be frantically trying to figure out what to do now!

    Is there any benefit in remaining in the EU? I mean the world hasn't ended and already the UK is getting new trade deals.

  19. I have mixed feelings on the Brexit. I'm glad to see the corrupt EU and the criminal finance brigade get a swift boot in the arse, but it actually looks like the UK heading for recession shortly if the 'experts' are not to be listened to. Then again was it not the experts that screwed all and sundry up.... AGAIN? If I thought the border issue here could be sorted in an EU context I would tend to veer that way. But generally it is an imperfect scenario. I think the border issue will be solved by a middle class coming together ans presented as a defeat of republicanism. Republicanism is such a turn off now looking at the historical, repetitive failure of it and the filthy wee tout run war of recent times. It will be the TORY BOYS coming togevva wot does it Steve.

  20. Recession is just a part of the endless cycle of capitalism, Larry, boom and bust.

    I don't think Republicanism will be 'defeated', I think what Adams et al realise is that it needs to be rebranded to be successful, but I think this can't happen when the old guard/army council are still pulling the strings. That's why it seems unpalatable at the minute.

  21. Steve Ricardos

    I think Adams and Marty realised in order to follow their selected political career route the IRA had become a hindrance rather than an asset in regard to their personal intentions. In fact it is possible the IRA was dead on its feet by the late 1970's but the hunger-strikes unexpectedly breathed life into it and prolonged (for Adams and McGuinness) the transition to constitutionalism. If any attempt to bring about a united Ireland had a republican complexion to it I expect it would be like pouring petrol onto the smouldering embers of loyalism like the hunger strikes effect upon the IRA of the late 1970's. Old antagonisms here are easily inflamed. It will be an economic rather than an idealist evolution to a UI if it happens.

  22. Have to agree Larry, what suits yer pocket best! But that IS the way politics should be.

    The PUL community I believe will be more amenable to a UI if there is no threat of physical coercion, and it made financial sense.

    Flip sake I knew plenty of them who went south for holidays and made life-long friends in the South. Won't be that much of a shift for them.