Saturday 12th October sees the Unite the Union organised ‘March Against Fascism’ in Liverpool. Speakers at the rally include – Salma Yaqoob, Colette Williams (BARAC/Chair of Unite Community), Len McCluskey (Unite), Billy Hayes (CWU), Bob Crow (RMT), Paul Nowak (TUC), Christine Blower (NUT), Dave Prentis (Unison) and Weyman Bennett (UAF) and Joe Anderson (Mayor of Liverpool).
We in Cairde na hEireann Liverpool urge Irish community support for this important event that aims to send a message out to the haters that Liverpool is One Community and to reject the message of hate sent out by various fascist groups and individuals. The Irish community, more than any other community in Liverpool during the past 2 years, has faced an onslaught of attacks, threats and intimidation from far-right groups aimed at driving Irish community events/parades of the streets of Liverpool. These attacks were fully documented in our February 2013 launched document Under Pressure: A Report Into Far-right And Loyalist Attacks Against Irish Community Parades/Marches in Liverpool During 2012.
Cairde na hEireann Liverpool urges members of the Irish community to join in with the Irish contingent on next week’s march and send a clear message that we as a community will not be cowered by the behaviour and threats of fascists and to remember with pride the very real anti-fascist tradition inherent within the Liverpool Irish history and identity.
The James Larkin Society held a very successful James Larkin March and Rally in Liverpool yesterday to remember the 100th Anniversary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout. Cairde na hEireann Liverpool were proud to support this annual event again this year and worked closely with the James Larkin Society, Trade Unionists, community groups, Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police to ensure its success. Close to 500 people attended yesterday’s march and rally which was lead by the Liverpool Irish Patriots Flute Band. The event was addressed by Steve Higginson, Secretary James Larkin Society, Billy Hayes, General Secretary Communication Workers Union and Cormac O’Dalaigh, President of the Communication Workers Union (Ireland).
As opposed to last years parade which was targeted and attacked by a wide range of right wing fascist groups along with local Orange Order members, this years event passed of relatively peacefully and showed the real commitment by all parties to ensure that Irish community and Trade Union events are allowed to proceed unhindered and free from protesters involved in racist and sectarian abuse aimed at marchers. There were 11 arrests of protesters on the day with most not actually occurring near the event route. We note the positive approach in dealing with hate groups and individuals intent on disrupting this event by Merseyside Police, not only on the day itself but also in the weeks leading up to the March. This approach lead to a positive experience for all on the March, free from threats and abuse and we applaud Merseyside Police’s robust approach in dealing with lone individuals who attempted to disrupt the March along the route.
Cairde na hEireann Liverpool remains committed to working in partnership with local authorities on future events that allow Irish people in Liverpool/Merseyside to express themselves both culturally and politically. We also note that comments from Liverpool’s Orange Order prior to yesterday’s march asking their members not be involved in targeting the James Larkin March & Rally as being a positive step and undoubtedly had a big impact on right wing fascist organisations being able to mobilise on a bigger scale. It remains Cairde na hEireann Liverpool’s view that Liverpool’s streets should be a shared space for all communities and free from racism, sectarianism and hate, and any groups /individuals who promote such should have no place within civic society.
On the 10th Anniversary of his death, please take time this week to remember 15 year old Johnny Delaney,an Irish Traveller murdered in a racist attack 28th May 2003. A beautiful short film of Johnny’s life was made afterwards and shows how loved he was. Please remember Johnny and remember all of the victims of hate crime during these times….
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.
3RD MARCH 2013
St Patricks Day Parade Liverpool – A Positive Irish Community Response
St Patrick’s Day in Liverpool is nearly upon us. Unlike other cities across England, Scotland & Wales, Liverpool has never quite managed to reach the lofty heights of offering a St Patrick’s Day Parade for the city which would go hand in hand with the thousands of people who aim for Liverpool city centre on the day to celebrate Ireland’s Patron Saint and take pride in their Irishness. Indeed, Liverpool in recent years has become the city outside of Ireland to celebrate St Patrick’s Day on a par with cities across the world such as Boston and New York.
Of course, the history of Irishness in Liverpool has been tainted by a ‘sectarian’ element that has in so many ways inhibited the progress of the Irish Community and Civic Liverpool in developing St Patrick’s Day as one of THE days to be in the Liverpool and be seen as one of the highlights of the cultural and economic calendar of the city.
Last year’s attempts by racists and religious bigots, highlighted in the recently published report Under Pressure, to prevent the Irish Community from legally and peacefully parading in Liverpool has only served to highlight the reasons why expressions of Irishness in Liverpool have often been fraught and frowned upon in the past and to the present.
However, we feel that the time has finally come to put this issue to rest and for Liverpool to move on into the 21st century, and leave bigotry and intolerance behind.
At short notice and in the absence of a any formal orgainising of a parade in Liverpool, Cairde Na hEireann Liverpool has decided to respond in a positive manner to the racists and bigots who tried again to taint this city with sectarianism and racism during 2012. To that end we have organised a St Patrick’s Day Parade for Liverpool for Sunday 17th March (details below) and we are asking for your support. We are asking Irish and Non-Irish individuals/groups/organisations alike to join with us on St Patrick’s Day and stand against racism and bigotry by joining in with our parade through the city. This parade will be inclusive in manner, a celebration of Irishness and our community across Liverpool and Merseyside. This event will be dignified and peaceful in manner that befits the contribution that the Irish Community has made to the cultural, social and economic life of the City of Liverpool down the ages.
Come and join us. Bring your organisation’s banner, wear your county colours and support this inclusive Irish community event.
Cairde Na hEireann Liverpool (Liverpool Friends of Ireland)
An Irish community organisation campaigning for Irish unification, defending & promoting Irish community rights and fighting racism/fascism and intolerance.
11TH FEBRUARY 2013
Irish community group meets Mayor of Liverpool to discuss racist attacks
Today representatives of Cairde na hEireann Liverpool met with Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, his team and senior officers from Merseyside Police to discuss attacks on Irish Parades/Marches in Liverpool by far-right organisations and local Liverpool Loyalists during 2012. These attacks are fully documented in CNE’s recently published report (attached).
The meeting agreed that these attacks should stop immediately and that the rights of the Irish community to hold lawful, dignified and peaceful public events should be upheld and protected.
In an open and frank discussion, CNE reps reiterated the view that attacks by far-right and loyalists demonstrators at several marches/parades during 2012 have been both racist in nature and an attempt drive the Irish community off the streets of Liverpool. They have also been aimed at preventing the expression of Irish culture and our community’s right to commemorate Liverpool-Irish history and honour the memory of such historical figures such as James Larkin and the Liverpool-Irish volunteers who fought fascism in Spain. CNE reps also highlighted the worrying links that have been developed between loyalists, individual members of various Orange Institutions across the city and far-right racist groups such as the North West Infidels, Combined Exforces, English Defence League and the National Front.
Again, CNE reps committed themselves to having open and honest dialogue with any organisations in Liverpool to ameliorate the problems caused by far-right and loyalist attacks and will work co-operatively with both Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police in facilitating public events in the future.
15th January 2013
UKIP statement in support of Liverpool flag demonstration condemned by Irish community group
The recent statement (below) issued by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Liverpool Chair, Neil Miney has been condemned by Irish community organisation, Cairde na hEireann Liverpool (Liverpool Friends of Ireland).
A spokesperson for the organisation stated:
“In supporting the recent Liverpool flag demonstration, It is clear that UKIP have now aligned themselves with Liverpool loyalists and far-right groups such as the National Front, the paramilitary group Combined Ex-Forces and the racist North West Infidels. These groups were openly present during the protest and very active in encouraging support for the demo through Facebook and Twitter media which UKIP undoubtedly knew about. The reality is that the UKIP statement calls for support against the recent democratic decision by members of Belfast City Council to reduce the amount of days the Union flag is flown whichgoes someway toward created a shared-space in the city and equality for all. The UKIP statement is inflammatory in its attempt to link the flag issue with the ongoing issue faced by Irish community organisations in this city to hold peaceful, lawful and legitimate parades/marches in Liverpool. UKIP’s statement is a cynical attempt to foster tension and breakdown community relations in Liverpool and to demonise yet again Irish community presence at a street level. UKIP, by fostering the idea that there are ‘IRA’ parades in Liverpool echoes the language used by loyalist and fascist organisations who for the past 12 months have actively confronted and sometimes violently attempted to prevent legitimate Irish community parades/marches in Liverpool (here). It is an appalling statement that will put at risk the safety and well-being of members of the Irish community participating in such parades in the future” statement ends.
UKIP have been informed that there is to be a peaceful protest in support of the Union flag flying from Belfast city hall, tonight at 6pm-7pm on St George’s plateau, Liverpool. Here is an official statement from Liverpool branch chairman, sent out earlier to BBC, ITV, and Liverpool Echo.
UK Independence Party (Liverpool)
The UK Independence Party, Liverpool branch, supports the right of Unionists to peaceful protest at the removal of the Union flag from Belfast City Hall.
This is more than just about a flag. It is about the continual cultural attacks against Britishness in Northern Ireland. Apart from ethnic cleansing, Sinn Fein/IRA is engaged in cultural cleansing, so much for a shared future.
• We call upon IRA/Sinn Fein to reinstate the flying of the Union flag on 365 days of the year as it has done for 106 years.
• We also call for Sinn Fein/IRA to stop stoking up tensions in Liverpool by glorifying terrorism in the form of IRA parades.
We are pleased that people in Liverpool still remember the sacrifice paid by the people of Ulster in defence of our freedoms in two world wars against German fascism, and UKIP is pleased to support this peaceful Union flag demonstration against Irish Republican fascism tonight.
End of Statement
UK Independence Party (Liverpool branch)
Mobile 07787 527752