Branch and NEC solidarity with #iamirish and #weareirish

Another motion was passed at the emergency chapel committee meeting on Wednesday 26 April (after a non-quorate branch meeting on Tuesday). I (Donnacha DeLong, branch treasurer/membership and recruitment officer) have been working with the #IamIrish campaign since last Autumn and spoke on a panel at one of their events.

The racist abuse of the campaign was brought to my attention when an abusive tweet was directed at me. I looked at the tweeter’s other post and he had both tweeted and retweeted some of the most horrible racist abuse I’ve seen in a long time – some of using explicitly Nazi quotes and images.

The branch motion passed said:

This branch condemns the racist attacks on Twitter by people using the #iamirish and #weareirish hashtags. Twitter has removed a number of them following reports, but numerous posts, including one that includes “Time to go back to Africa” remain.

The #iamirish campaign was launched in London in October during Black History Month by mixed race people who were born and grew up in Ireland. The campaign celebrates the diversity of the modern Irish community and is based on their wish to be regarded as Irish.

The campaign was expressed by a photography exhibition and a series of meetings in the Camden Irish Centre. The organisers are working on bringing the exhibition to Ireland.

The #weareirish hashtag was started by Irish journalist Úna-Minh Caomhánach, who has written on numerous occasions about the abuse she receives.

Racist attacks have increased since the #iamirish campaign was included in the London St. Patrick’s Day parade.

This branch expresses its support for the activities of the #iamirish campaign and calls on the NEC and IEC to add its support.

This branch further calls on the NEC and IEC to condemn the racism that has been expressed against the campaign on Twitter and the racist targeting of individuals in the UK and in Ireland who have been associated with the campaign. This branch urges the IEC to contact anti-racist organisations ENAR Ireland and iReport.ie to see what support the union can give them.

On Friday, I proposed a consequent motion at the NEC, which was agreed without opposition:

NEC condemns the racist attacks on Twitter by people who hijacked the #iamirish and #weareirish hashtags. Twitter has removed a number of them following reports, but a number of posts remain, including one that includes “Time to go back to Africa” and another saying “That moment when you become a Nazi.”.

The #iamirish campaign was launched in London in October during Black History Month by mixed race people who were born and grew up in Ireland. The campaign celebrates the diversity of the modern Irish community and is based on their wish to be regarded as Irish.

The campaign was expressed by a photography exhibition and a series of meetings in the Camden Irish Centre. The organisers are working on bringing the exhibition to Ireland.

The #weareirish hashtag was started by Irish journalist Úna-Minh Caomhánach, who has written on numerous occasions about the racist abuse she receives.

Racist attacks have increased since the #iamirish campaign was included in the London St. Patrick’s Day parade. A page on 4chan – a website notorious for racist and extreme right wing content and discussions – has been found to be mobilising attacks.

NEC supports the activities of the #iamirish and #weareirish campaigns and condemns the racism that has been expressed against the campaigns on Twitter and the racist targeting of individuals in the UK and in Ireland associated with the campaigns.

The motion has also been sent to the Irish executive council (IEC), and acting NUJ general secretary Séamus Dooley said at the NEC that they would do what they can to help.


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