Far-right targeting Irish in Liverpool

The far-right are targeting the Irish community in Liverpool.

Irish marches in Liverpool have been disrupted by the abuse and intimidation of far-right organisations, a report published yesterday (7 February) by the Irish group Cairde na hÉireann Liverpool (“Friends of Ireland”) has revealed.

The report lists a series of incidents last year when the Irish cultural events were attacked by far-right groups, who view all Irish cultural commemorations as ‘IRA marches’.

In reality, one of the marches was in commemoration of the Liverpool Irish who fought with the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War.

Another was in honour of Liverpool-born trade union legend ‘Big Jim’ Larkin, a man who successfully united both Catholic and Protestant workers in his bid to organise labour in both Britain and Ireland.

One march did indeed remember Liverpool-born Sean Phelan, who was an IRA volunteer during Ireland’s War of Independence (1919-21) against British rule.

However far-right objectors are perhaps unaware that no lesser a figure than the Queen laid a wreath in Ireland’s Garden of Remembrance during her state visit to Ireland last year, in memory of men exactly like Phelan, as a gesture of reconciliation.

We have become used to the protests in Belfast over the removal of the Union flag from Belfast City Hall, not to mention the ongoing sectarian tensions in parts of Scotland; but Northern Ireland’s political turmoil finds expression on English soil, too.

The report says that people on the above marches were subject to racial abuse and intimidation and that the local media in Liverpool has shown a marked reluctance to report the disputes.

As has Merseyside Police, who, the report says, should be ‘fully resourced to deal which such crime and recognise anti-Irish racism as a real issue’.

The report, Under Pressure: A Report Into Far-right And Loyalist Attacks Against Irish Community Parades/Marches in Liverpool During 2012also claims the problem of far-right intimidation has escalated over the past year.

In contrast, it says Irish community parades between 1996 and 2011 were ‘relatively trouble free’, signalling an improved confidence in the Irish community following ‘several decades of fear and restraint due the ongoing conflict in the north of Ireland’.

More broadly the report finds that the fragmentation of the far-right in North West England has seen groups develop a ‘street based approach’ to building support. This sees them ‘challenging anything perceived on their part to be anti-British’, such as trade union pickets and certain bookshops.

‘In Liverpool, this has shown itself by increased antagonism toward Irish community parades in the city in the absence of any significant Asian population that could be targeted,’ the report adds.

Liverpool’s history as a major centre of Irish immigration from the time of the Great Famine in the 1840s has seen the city develop a distinct Celtic character. By 1851, a fifth of the population of the city were born in Ireland, with the legendary T.P. O’Connor elected to represent the Liverpool Scotland constituency in the House of Commons for nearly 50 years as an Irish Nationalist.

Indeed, the 2011Census figures for Liverpool showed a marked increase in the city’s Irish population, making issues around cultural heritage increasingly important.

The far right’s characteristic ignorance of history, both Liverpool’s and Ireland’s, should not be allowed to spoil things.

37 Responses to “Far-right targeting Irish in Liverpool”

  1. Dave Basterfield

    Protesting against the republicanism that has murdered British citizens is not ‘targeting irish’ as this erroneous article makes out!

  2. Edward Carson

    There’s no antagonism towards the genuine Irish community, only to those who openly support and sympathise with Republican terrorist scum.

  3. EGD Hammer

    Smash the IRA, this is not Irish culture, the Irish people & supporters in question wear berets & sunglasses like the 70s IRA, have banners & the names of IRA terrorists on their drums, at one event they read out a list of honor relating to dead IRA scum, the person reading it was a ex IRA member & current member of sinn fein, we will at every opportunity be there to stop terrorist supporters marching on the streets of Liverpool, NFSE – FGAU

  4. Sun


    First of all, if you are going to claim everyone you don’t like is “Fascist” you should spell it correctly. “Facist” is not a word.

    Second, conflating Nationalism and Fascism as the same thing is so utterly ignorant. A similar analogy would be stating that Socialism and Communism are the same (although the two ideologies are much more similar than Nationalism and Fascism) which many conservatives do, needless to say it is stupid and ignorant. It is clear that you don’t know what you are talking about, and anyone you don’t like you just lump and use “far right” for fear.

    Third, and Left wingers don’t use force to gain control? The left hasn’t/doesn’t establish totalitarianism? You must be one of those who think that the Left is full “love and everything nice.” No, the only difference is the left wingers are better liars even when they’ve become completely illiberal in many ways to stay in power.

    As of right now the right is pretty marginalized (thanks to the [soft] totalitarian left) and what is there is a castrated version to give some illusion that there is a different choice which is too protect the left establishment. This is a left wing establishment not only in Ireland but throughout all of Europe.

    That is why right wing populism is on the rise and there is a cultural revolution happening. It means that mainstream people are fed up of your bullshit.

    No I don’t support looking like these goons with stupid mask and shaved heads (which isn’t Irish culture). But I do support preserving culture and a native (ethnic) people of these places.

    Keep calling everything Fascist, your days in power are numbered. It just shows your insecurity.

  5. Ben

    I find this a very defensive response; I moved to glasgow from england in 2000 and lived there for 10 years. I was suprised by the amount of sectarianism there still is and how deeply it still permeates some levels of glaswegian life. Strange challenge to the statistics in the report as well – if they do indeed include a protestant and a catholic kicking each other’s heads in after an old firm game, then they still record worrying incidents of sectarianism.

Comments are closed.