Racist attacks: part of the loyalist culture in Ireland

Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, segregation between the nationalist and Unionist communities in the north of Ireland has increased. This has been accompanied by increasing inter-communal violence and by violence directed at ethnic minorities. Those under attack include asylum seekers and a growing number of foreign workers in the expanding service sector. The intolerance and hat–red direc–ted at the nationalist minority for generations is now also being aimed at anyone who looks or sounds foreign.

A report published on 22 October in The Observer confirmed that over 90% of reported racist attacks in the Six Counties between January 2005 and September 2006 occurred in loyalist areas. The assaults range from petrol bombings of the houses of mi–grant workers to the forced evictions of black women from loyalist estates. In one incident racists smeared excrement over a Catholic church in east Belfast, which has become a place of worship for Filipino nurses working at nearby Ulster Hospital. The Ulster Volunteer Force has been at the forefront of racist attacks against the Chinese community in south Belfast. On 19 November, a Lith–uanian family in Bushmills, County Antrim was attacked.

Loyalism is a tradition nurtured by the British government to secure its rule over the people of the north of Ireland, and responsibility for the violent racism of the loyalist thugs rests squarely with British imperialism.
Paul Mallon

FRFI 194 December 2006 / January 2007