'No black people allowed' – alleged racist incident at Dublin venue sparks shock and controversy in Ireland

'No black people allowed' – alleged racist incident at Dublin venue sparks shock and controversy in Ireland

A DISCUSSION on Irish talk radio has started a nationwide debate on Ireland and racism.

Two South African students, named Azile and Anathi, contacted RTÉ's long-running Liveline show to relay their experiences at a Dublin bar over the weekend.

The pair, along with another friend, say they were horrified when they were refused admission to a venue because of their skin colour.

The bouncer apparently told them "no black people allowed."

RTÉ presenter Philip Boucher Hayes first asked Azile, a Master's student in International Development in University College Dublin, to describe the events.

She said she had "never been denied access to a place because of my skin colour" before the alleged incident in Dublin.

"I was showing my friends around places in Dublin. I wanted them to experience what I'd experienced" she says referring to previous enjoyable nights out in Dublin.

"As we got to the door we were denied access and we were told 'no black people' by the security man at the door."

When the presenter reacted with disbelief , she repeated the doorman's words: 'No black people allowed.'

"It was unbelievable. We didn't expect that. We thought it was identification he wanted," she continued.

"No black people allowed"

The presenter then asked if she was drunk, or messy in appearance. She told him they were not drunk and were presentably dressed and the initial reason they were given for not being allowed in was the colour of their skin.

They spoke to the manager shortly after the incident who stood by the bouncer's decision.

The friends were told the bar had the right not to disclose the reasons for refusing entry to customers.

When they asked again if they would be allowed in, the answer was still no.

According to Azile, the manager defended the bouncer saying: "That guy would never say that...he's been working for 13 years and he knows what he's doing."

Azile was with two friends, one who is studying a Masters degree in Law. He also spoke on the radio.

After the incident, they went to the Garda station and were told to come back on Tuesday, June 7 to give statements.

Later Gardaí told them it was pointless to pursue it as no criminal offence was committed.

The venue, which has not yet been named, told RTÉ said they were not in a position to provide a spokesperson.

A caller who rang Liveline shortly afterwards called Gearóid said: "The Irish have short memories. We forget we were once known by certain people as the blacks of Europe. Remember there were notices in England that said 'no Irish need apply".

The caller apologised to the three friends and said he wanted them to know that Ireland had a strong Anti-Apartheid movement founded in 1964, but admitted there was a "streak of racism" in the country.

Listen to the discussion on Liveline here