The Irish in Britain
Sir, – Having worked in the UK in the 1980s, I read with interest your article on anti-Irish prejudice in Britain (James Patterson, “Anti-Irish bigotry in Britain has not gone away”, Opinion & Analysis, February 22nd).
In my time there – and I go back regularly – I don’t recall being on the receiving end of anti-Irish bigotry nor was I ever stopped by immigration or customs control. I felt that, despite the fact that the Troubles were then going on, the attitude of the British towards Irish people was largely benign.
However, I am not surprised when your columnist states that there has recently been a coarsening in attitudes. One reason for this was surely the posturings of our Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs, who greatly ramped up anti-British rhetoric in Ireland for political ends during the Brexit crises. And I am afraid to say your columnist Fintan O’Toole must also accept some responsibility in this regard. His remorseless campaign over the past few years in reminding the British of how awful they are, and whose columns are regularly relayed to them via the Guardian, played a part in this.
If we insist on kicking the dog, we should not be surprised when it turns around and tries to bite us.
This kind of toxic tub-thumping has entirely predictable results – and not just in Britain. – Yours, etc,
MURPHY, BSc, PhD
Department of Science
Institute of Technology,
A chara, – The greatest anti-Irish sentiment of all in my experience is that by the Irish political and media class, content with keeping us disenfranchised for fear we might provide an alternative narrative. – Is mise,