Point Blank, RA Vol 3, Issue 6, Apr/May '99

St. Patrick's Day

MIDLANDS - based supporters of the Republican fanzine Tiochfaidh ar la, caused controversy by leafleting the St. Patrick's day parade in Birmingham to highlight the eccentric decision of the parade organisers to allow the West Midlands Police pipe band onto the parade; a police force particularly notorious for their ill treatment of the local Irish community. The leaflet also pointed out that 'we have nothing more in common with the Irish businessmen or businesses who support or sponsor the event than we do the police (is it better to be shown the door by an Irish subby or a Brummy one?)'

Bhoys Against Bigotry

GLASGOW CELTIC football club sought to capitalise on the consistent work of Celtic Fans Against Fascism and Tiochfaidh Ar La fanzine, by hosting a conference entitled 'The Equality Goal' which sought to put on display the club's 'anti-racist' credentials, courting Asian businessmen, of whom a number were assembled to make up the 200 strong audience for the day. Once representatives from CFAF and the Campaign Against Sectarian Attacks were spotted in the audience, they were immediately approached and assurances demanded that they would 'behave' themselves. Meanwhile the club's chairman Fergus McCann, who had been billed as the main speaker, suddenly withdrew due to 'a mystery illness'. Celtic's PR man went on to proclaim that not only were 'Asians the new Irish' ie subject to systematic discrimination, but in line with this, the club felt free to continue with the forced removal of the last vestiges of sectarianism and bigotry (ie the singing of Irish rebel songs and displaying Irish tricolour flags) from the ground. It was left to a representative of CASA to point out that Celtic FC had done little to address the rampant racism of the mid-80s leaving it to people like him, and more recently nothing to address the real issue of sectarianism; the routine harassment, physical attack and even murder of Celtic fans by loyalist bigots travelling to and from the ground. Buttonholed later the PR man explained that the club's hostility on the issue was due to TAL's 'terrorist links'. Then visibly blanched when informed that TAL was increasing it's print run to 5,000 to deal with demand, putting his earlier triumphalist claims of imminent victory over the 'irreconcilables' into perspective. The biggest round of applause was reserved for former player Paul Elliot, who revealed that when playing for Charlton FC he reacted to sustained racial abuse by a rival player, by sticking one on him!

Reproduced from RA Vol 3, Issue 6, Apr/May '99