17TH MAY 2013
Irish community group meets with Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy
In a very positive and open discussion with the Police & Crime Commissioner for Merseyside, Jane Kennedy, a delegation from Irish community group, Cairde na hEireann Liverpool (pronounced Car-ja na air-ran) raised again our serious concerns regarding attacks on Irish community parades in Liverpool. Using this year’s published report into attacks by the far-Right and Loyalists on Irish community parades/marches during 2012 (Under Pressure) and its recommendations as the basis for discussion, Cairde delegates discussed the negative impact that these attacks have upon Irish community confidence, the need for a more robust response from Merseyside Police when dealing with loyalist and fascist demonstrators using racist and sectarian language and threatening behaviour aimed towards members so the Irish community, and recent figures released to Cairde under the Freedom of Information Act detailing anti-Irish hate crimes over a four year period for Merseyside.
Cairde were pleased with the Commissioners genuine and sympathetic response to our concerns and she reaffirmed our shared view that no community on Merseyside should be subject to racist and sectarian abuse or intimidation on the scale experienced by members of the Irish community in recent times. The Commissioner also gave an undertaking that the Irish community would be involved in community consultative forums which are currently being reviewed. The Commissioner affirmed that Merseyside Police operational tactics for Irish parades/marches this year have been reviewed in light of the events of 2012 and should restore Irish community confidence.
The Cairde delegation specifically raised concerns about recent applications made under the Freedom of Information Act asking Merseyside Police to provide numbers of victims and incidents of hate crimes targeting Irish people across the Merseyside area, to include those specifically targeted as a result of either their Irish nationality or ethnicity for each year between 2009-2012. The Cairde delegation highlighted that over 20 individual reports of anti-Irish hate crime where reported to Merseyside Police from members of the Irish Community involved in parades/marches during 2012, yet figures from Merseyside Police suggest there was only 1 incident reported and contradict a previous FOI request for figures between 2011-2012 which found over 11?? Full details of these requests are available via https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/cairde_na_heireann_liverpool. The Commissioner agreed to look into this and clarify how Merseyside Police are recording anti-Irish hate crime.