Of course there is racism in Ireland

Like many articles on TheJournal.ie, the real reading is not in the actual text, rather below in the comments section.

Take this one titled “‘People throw bananas at you or tell you to go back to your country just for asking to see a ticket’“.  The inspiration for the article is a campaign run by the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Transport for Ireland and Dublin City Council to promote “a message of zero tolerance” towards racism in Ireland.

Of course this debate is particularly timely what with President #DoubleDownDonald having one of his classic press conference meltdowns where he tried to suggest that not all those who protested the statue in Charlottesville were neo-Nazis.  By the way, in that tirade, the president alluded to something he called the “alt-left” which proved the very point I made a couple of days ago about false equivalency.

But returning to Ireland, the Journal article cites numerous experiences of racism by public transport drivers of various origins.  It’s not all violent, most of it isn’t.  But particularly in an area like this, ie racial hatred, the violence is the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and to understand where it comes from you first must acknowledge what lies beneath the water, and there are several examples in the comments section of this piece, much as we’d expect.

The first category, and the easiest to dismiss, is captured by this one…

Yawn!! The Journal is really laying it on today. Its endless. Are they being cynical and using it all for clickbait? Can you not see it just a quango justifying it’s continued existance (and big saleries) by portraying a subjective and selective number of allegations. Whether they are true or not doesn’t really matter as it is about the above. The Journal also love these type of press releases as they get a lot of comments.

Spelling atrocities aside, this is classic conspiracy theory nonsense…much easier to blame those calling out the racism than to acknowledge it.

Next we have the soft denier.

Sadly, we have racists in Ireland but I like to think that the racists are a minority. Of course, one would have to be of a different race to know the reality in everyday life. The actual lived experience is the most revealing.

Did I miss something?  Has anyone suggested that racists were in the majority?  But at least this person appreciates that they haven’t experienced this kind of racism personally, unlike this final genius of a commenter, a “hard” denier if you will…

The poor foreign taxi men will be on next telling us all how hard their life is and what a bunch of racists us Irish are… Give me strength… If your gonna work dealing with the public especially on crammed public transport your gonna have to listen to a bit of crap every now and again whether your black, white, orange, Irish, Polish, Russian or whatever.. That’s the nature of human interaction, mostly good but sometimes bad, that’s never gonna change no matter how many posters you put up so either accept that your in a foreign land and a minority of people aren’t going to like you, either get used to that fact or get a job in an office…

There is racism all over the world.  But it’s not a bloody competition.  We can’t justify what happens on our own shores because of what happens elsewhere.  We stand up and call it what it is whenever we see it.  And like I said earlier, it’s not just the violent incidents we need to call out.

Ever been on a bus when a driver was verbally abused?  Or in a shop when it was an employee?  Or in a taxi when an Irish driver was telling you stories about scary activities by black drivers?  Or at a family gathering when an elder relative used the ‘n word’?  I have.  And I’m ashamed to say that too often I failed to speak out.  I’m actually part of the problem, I freely admit.

Of course I’m not saying we should put ourselves in any danger when out and about but the simple fact is that if we do nothing at all, it will continue.

But one thing we can definitely do is accept that it’s happening, and that will cost us nothing.  JLP

#IANWAE

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Leo Varadkar is first and foremost yet another pro-establishment Taoiseach

As far as I’m concerned, one of the principal tenets of “progressive” political thinking is that it does not matter who you are, where you come from nor whom you love; your equal place in society should be protected.

There’s going to be much reporting around the world about Ireland electing its first gay Taoiseach who is also the son of an immigrant.  This will no doubt be added to the marriage referendum result to imply that we are an ever-evolving tolerant country.

On a personal level, of course Deputy Varadkar should be congratulated but if he is to lead the country in a manner that matches his rhetoric and his ministerial performance over the years, then Ireland’s true opposition must continue on it’s path to break the Civil War duopoly’s grip on power.

What Ireland actually needs is its first Progressive Taoiseach.  One who has issues like health, education, housing and social justice as their priorities for government.

I know that sentence would invite howls of derisive laughter from most Irish political experts.  At best, it would be met with patronising talk about naivety with regard to how things work on these shores.  Our Taoiseach can only be the leader of Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael and that’s simply the Irish political reality, they would no doubt say.

Well, the way I see it, if we’re not at least prepared to talk about it, then it definitely won’t happen.  You want to see Ireland’s first Progressive Taoiseach?  Then say it out loud.  “I want to see Ireland’s First Progressive Taoiseach”.  Now, say it out loud to someone else who would probably agree with you.  Then say it to someone who would probably laugh at you and when they do, keep your head held high and be sure to say it again next time you see them.

I believe it’s a conversation that can grow over time if we truly want it.  Issues such as #Right2Water, #RepealThe8th, social housing, the hospital trolley crisis, LGBTQ rights and immigrant rights provide a common thread that runs through communities up and down the country.  It surely can’t be that hard to bring them together and move the country in a new direction that is fair to all.

Who would this first Progressive Taoiseach be?  Who knows.  Now is not the time to name names.  Now is the time to get active and join the conversation.

One thing’s for sure…anyone who points out that we have at least had a Tánaiste or two from a party which called itself the “Progressive Democrats” can go to the back of the class!

Meanwhile, Stephen Fry has won the internet tonight I reckon.

 #IANWAE

Can you dispute any of these ten points as basic human rights?

1. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE FREE.
2. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE HEALTHY.
3. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE BRILLIANT.
4. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE SAFE.
5. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE LOVED.
6. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE COURAGEOUS.
7. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE ALIVE.
8. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE TRUSTED.
9. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE EDUCATED.
10. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.

What is your reaction to those ten points?

  1. Is it something like  – “Yes, they all make sense.”
  2. Or is it something like – “No, that’s bullshit.”
  3. Or is it something like – “Hmmm….tell me what the source is first?”

If it is the second one, fine.  Off you go.  You’re welcome to this site, but you probably won’t find anything you want here.

If it’s the third one, fine – here’s the source.

Now you know the source, is your answer 1 or 2?

Just a thought for the day.  Hat-tip to The Edge of Sports podcast.

Sorry we haven’t been posting much lately.  We hope to get back to it soon.  JLP

#IANWAE

Website “Human Rights In Ireland” produces form letter for contacting your local TD objecting to US Muslim ban

The below is directly copy/pasted from the website Human Rights In Ireland

We suggest below a draft letter that people concerned with the application of the Executive Order in US pre clearance in Irish airports might find useful should they wish to write to TDs in relation to it. Of course, people should adjust it to reflect their preferred language and approach to the issue, but we hope it might be useful.

Dear

I am writing to you [as a constituent [and] citizen] to express my deep concern about the continued operation of the Aviation (Preclearance) Act 2009 and associated agreements in Irish airports during the administration of President Donald J. Trump.

In the first week and a half of his presidency we have already seen Trump attempt to subvert the Immigration and Nationality Act 1965 in order to apply discrimination in immigration and undermine international refugee law through Executive Order. As a result of the preclearance agreement between Ireland and the USA, this Order is being applied on Irish soil and in Irish airports. As you will be aware, Article II(1) of that agreement makes it clear that Irish law continues to apply in those preclearance areas. The application of this Order may result in, for example, EU Citizens with dual citizenship with a listed country experiencing nationality based discrimination, facilitated by Irish law, in clear contravention of the TFEU. I remind you also that it is not  possible effectively to renounce citizenship in Iran, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

I remind you that under the 2009 Act, those turned away at preclearance are at the frontiers of the state and must be treated in accordance with the Immigration Act 2004. The Irish state also has obligations of non-refoulement which may arise. Furthermore, any Irish officials including Gardaí who may be involved in any way in policing the preclearance area are obliged as always to act in full compliance with the Constitution and with the ECHR.

Even if Congress supports President Trump’s policies through legislation, thus amending the 1965 Act inasmuch as that is constitutionally permissible, Ireland must ensure that rights under the Irish Constitution continue to be protected in these preclearance areas, and that violations of international law are not facilitated through the application of the agreement.

Bearing all of the above in mind, I would be grateful if you could please seek from the Taoiseach and appropriate minister, and provide me with, details of the following:

A. Measures that are being taken to ensure that unlawful discrimination is not being undertaken or facilitated at Irish airports through the application of Trump policy in preclearance areas.
B. Measures that the Irish government is taking to ensure that international refugee law is not subverted through the application of Trump policy in preclearance areas.
C. Mechanisms in place to ensure Ireland’s obligations under the TFEU, the ECHR and other applicable international law are fully complied with in preclearance areas.
D. Procedures for withdrawal from the preclearance agreement and bases upon which withdrawal would be contemplated by the Irish government

All over the United States this weekend lawyers and others have protested against this unlawful, cruel, Islamophobic and xenophobic attempt to undermine the rule of law. I ask the Oireachtas and the Irish government, in my name, to stand with them. I also ask you to ensure that Ireland provides protection to people seeking asylum from Syria, in particular, who President Trump seeks to preclude from receiving refugee status in the United States.

Given the evident urgency of the matter, I look forward to your swift response.

Yours sincerely,

#IANWAE
© First Person Plural 2017

Article in Journal.ie clearly written to provoke comments from “I’m not racist but…” brigade

Here’s the story…as part of Ireland’s agreements as part of the international community, 80 refugees, mostly of Syrian extraction, are to be accommodated in a refurbished hotel in County Roscommon.

For the most part, we here at FPP see that as a good thing.  It’s not perfect, there are negative connotations, but given all that has been happening in the world, that a place is being found for these people where hunks of metal are not being dropped from the sky on a daily basis has to be seen as a net blessing all round.

So when you report on that, we think the “80 lives made better” thing is the best starting point.

Now…to get a clear picture of what is going on, of COURSE you look into how the locals feel about it.  Of COURSE you interview local people and representatives.   And of COURSE you seek out the response from the Department of Justice and the Roscommon County Council.

However, assuming there are language and logistical barriers preventing you from speaking to the refugees themselves, we believe you should ALSO interview the Irish Refugee Council, or Amnesty International, or some other such organisation who generally act as the first responders from Irish society towards such people when they arrive on our shores.  Maybe get a little perspective on what it must be like for them?

According to this article in the Journal, the 80 refugees are not the story.

Council meets to discuss housing of refugees in refurbished hotel

The important narrative, apparently, is that the locals don’t like the way THEY have been treated.

Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins, a Ballaghaderreen native, says that “a number of questions need to be answered” with regard to the move.

They go on to interview a Fine Gael councillor, as well as two Fianna Fáil councillors (FF have 8 of 18 on the council by the way – FG 3, SF 1, IND 6) .

Like we point out, those viewpoints are all fine, but they are not the full story.  To be fair, the article does end like this…

TheJournal.ie has contacted both the Department of Justice and Roscommon County Council on the matter.

…yet they still posted an article that purely focuses on the reaction of a handful of right-leaning councillors.

You can imagine the kind of comments that will appear below an article like this.  Posted at 10:30am Friday, by 3pm there were 182 comments, like these…

The plan is to get in as many Muslims as possible until Ireland becomes as unstable and divided as Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, basically any country with a high Islamic fundamentalist presence. God help any of you with female kids.

Screw our own people, leave them on the streets, but look after the foreigners, that’s the humane thing to do. What the hell is wrong with this Country?

There is a cruel irony here, where sending refugees to a hotel in Rosscommon somehow makes it okay. There are absolutely no prospects of them ever finding employment, so they might be better off back in Syria where they came from and at least can fend for themselves and regain their dignity. They certainly won’t have much dignity around here.

This makes my f**king blood boil

Let’s house 80 ” refugees ” in a newly refurbished hotel …..

Meanwhile the government issue a court order to remove irish homesless people from an abandoned building …

How does this make sense ???????

Now to be fair, there are some comments going the other way…

Lots on here on about homelessness. No humanity at all

If ye feel that strong on irish homelessness open yer own door welcome in the homeless. Id say 0% of ye would. So shut up on about innocent people who didnt choose to be bombed beheaded shot HOMELESS imprisoned for nothing risking lifes spending all there money drowning trying to save there familys

Do you think 5 years ago they would choose to be in this situation and end up thousands of miles from home in ballaghaderreen.

Ps the mayo border is nearly 13 km away

…but the way the article has been presented views like this are guaranteed to be in the minority.

#IANWAE