and the “Love Ulster” riots - Media fabrications

When rioting broke out in response to Garda efforts to force a loyalist march through the city centre of Dublin on Saturday 25th February 2006, media reaction was as clueless as it was predictable. The hysterical tone of condemnation could not conceal a complete ignorance of the strength of grassroots anti-loyalist sentiment in Dublin and genuine shock that the much-hyped Garda riot squad, the “Public Order Unit” were held for three hours by a few hundred rioters while much the city centre was paralyzed. This cluelessness led to crude initial attempts to lay blame for the riot on Sinn Fein which were quickly abandoned once it became obvious that the Shinners were on their best behaviour that day. Media outrage was then directed at unorganised “scumbags” which at least gave hacks a chance to use their favourite term of abuse in even bigger font than usual. When the initial hysteria had dissipated, organised “football hooligans” of Glasgow Celtic were also blamed, but elements of the more rabid right wing press also manufactured allegations of racism, oblivious the fact that they themselves were the subject of anti-fascist protests in the past for disgraceful racist scaremongering.

Media agenda

The Evening Herald for example, published photos of what it portrayed to be a racist attack on Asian shop workers as apparent proof of the racist tendencies of the rioters. What had actually transpired was that when some miscreants allegedly availed of a five-fingered discount to trouser some alcohol in a convenience store on the fringes of the riot, members of staff pursued them onto the street where a free-for-all ensued. As should have been obvious from even a cursory check of the facts, the incident was clearly triggered by opportunistic petty thievery and not by racism.

Spot the racists - Celtic fans at Love Ulster protests 

But this distortion was sufficient proof for sister newspaper the Irish Independent, in collaboration with a full-time spokesman from the state funded Sports against Racism in Ireland (SARI) organisation to fabricate further allegations of racism. According to the SARI expert, Irish Celtic supporters have a “menacing element” with a “sinister undercurrent” “sucked into” a “very crass form of nationalism”. Readers were further advised if they “watch them in their haunts the naked sectarianism is appalling”. Not one shred of proof was offered to back up this drivel but the SARI spokesman followed up an attempt to smear Celtic supporters as racist as well. His ludicrous attempt at scaremongering went; “It’s all about keeping Ireland green and white” and “They wear tattoos of Celtic crosses”.

The attempted stitch-up was so pathetic that it should be a source of embarrassment to all concerned, the rubbish spouted fitting the longstanding anti-republican agenda of Independent newspapers, in this instance fuelled by resentment of the strength of republican sentiment among Celtic supporters. Why the corporate anti-racists of SARI would collude so willingly with this agenda is unclear but it is probable that the real reason was the most pathetic; a bloated attempt at self-publicity.

Love Fascism

Anti-fascists, including Celtic Supporters against Fascism, were present at the day’s events, not to confront phantom racists among the protestors, but because of a well-grounded concern of the possibility of a fascist presence in the “Love Ulster” crowd. For example, Willie Frazier, the main mouthpiece of the “Love Ulster” mob, had already proved himself a sectarian bigot by limiting the concerns of his so-called FAIR (Families of Innocent relatives) organisation to co-religionists but overt racist links were not too hard to find either. Frazier had proudly paraded an American sympathiser, the aptly named Larry Pratt, for the media around the fields of south Armagh to parrot his fantasies of republican ethnic cleansing during the northern conflict. Pratt turned out to be a right-wing freak who as head of the “Gun Owners Organisation of America” had shared platforms with both the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations.

 HQ of the PDs after Love Ulster riot

Another organiser of “Love Ulster” Jim Dixon, openly admitted he was a racist to the Daily Ireland and occupied the position of life president of the Springboks club, an obnoxious right-wing organisation for enthusiasts of the apartheid regime in South Africa. If the Independent Group hacks had any interest in real journalism they could have seen that the organisers of the “Love Ulster” farce were far more deserving of racist charge and of warranting their beloved term “scumbag” than those who turned up to oppose them, who incidentially, displayed their supposed racist credentials by attacking the HQ of Irelands most right-wing party, the "Citizenship Referendum" PDs.

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