If you’re Irish, come into the parlour — if not, then clear off

If you’re Irish, come into the parlour — if not, then clear off

I don’t know the place, Inch, Co. Clare. I don’t know any of the people in Inch, Co. Clare.

But I do know their actions in blocking access roads, in and out of a hotel housing asylum seekers, were bigoted and based on prejudice.

There is no other explanation. Indeed, the assertion by some that they were doing so with the best interests of the refugees at heart was nothing if not offensive, as it assumed a level of gullibility and stupidity amongst the rest of us that would have been stratospheric. They did not behave as they did out of concern for those displaced men.

They behaved as they did because they did not want those men there. Even though, as is clearly evident in the middle of our government sanctioned housing crisis, the accommodation would only ever be a short term solution. The rancid guff about women in the area not being safe is deeply ironic seeing as a legally found sex offender, Donald Trump, was recently greeted on his arrival in Co. Clare with pipers and a red carpet.

The Irish far right keep pushing a phrase about military-age, unvetted males. It is racism dressed up in a nonsensical phrase. The danger begins when local communities are influenced by it. When they fall for it. Because it is a concoction of words based on hate and fear of the foreigner. For instance, no one in this townland I live in is vetted. I don’t know the fine details of their backgrounds. I wouldn’t expect to have the right to.

My nearest neighbours, down the lane, could well have people staying overnight and I would not expect to be told about them. I would not imagine it ever legitimate to block their driveway and count and check their visitors.

I don’t expect to be able to inspect the people who might buy a house around here. I can’t imagine how anyone expects to be able to do that. And the insistence that the particular area in Clare cannot house these people, is in the back of beyond, and totally unsuitable for any kind of visitor, seems more than a little odd seeing as the property they are being housed in is a hotel.

Striking, too, was the response of a number of political representatives from across the parties who bemoaned the position the locals had been put in. That they hadn’t been consulted. That their actions were, in some way, justified. It seems so odd how the lives of ordinary people, of working people, are ignored until they behave in a vile way and then, suddenly, they need to be ‘understood.’ County Clare, for God’s sake, a county synonymous with emigration. Are we to believe that the people of Clare don’t understand the

necessity of going across the sea to find a new life? How could that even be possible? And for all those who disseminate nonsense about the Irish going away and doing this and doing that. About the Irish being different than other immigrants. Take it from someone directly reared in and by the immigrant Irish. Someone directly from the immigrant Irish. We were just like all the other immigrants. We were good and we were bad. And plenty of English people resented us and told stories about us that had no bearing on the truth. All the old stories of prejudice and bigotry. All the little minds and all their big hatreds.

Meanwhile the gardaí have openly declared they have a policy of non confrontation when it comes to the far right or actions like those in Inch, Co. Clare. They will not be drawn into confrontation the gardaí say because that is what the far right want. How bizarre that is. Especially as up the road in Mayo, not so long ago, they were using batons against protestors on a road objecting to a Shell pipeline. Is there a policy of selective policing on the west coast of Ireland?

In the town nearest here I’d guess there’s a good few people staying in hotels as I write this. I don’t know who any of them are or where they’re from. Does anyone really think I have the right to know? Or is it different because they’re mostly white and probably not poor?

It’s not that far from Clare to here but if I were from anywhere near there, near Inch, I’d hang my head with shame.