Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has attacked the increase in racism and hate speech in Ireland. Martin argued that racist language and behaviour “is always dangerous”. He went on to say that young people engaging in racist actions might “not realise how damaging their behaviour is”. But that racism is always “a one-way street towards negativity and disrespect”.
He made the comments as footage emerged last week of Xuedan (Shelly) Xiong being racially abused by a group of youths before they pushed her into a canal in Dublin.
Racism is damaging to people
Martin was speaking during his homily in Dublin’s Pro Cathedral on Sunday 16 August when he made the remarks. He told those in attendance that not only is racism “damaging”, it is “an affront to the dignity of those who are its objects”.
He also revealed that he is “scared when I hear stories of racist intolerance by groups of young people”.
In terms of the church, he remarked that hate speech and intolerance is the opposite of the teachings of Jesus. Such behaviour, he declared, “can never foster goodness and love”. Instead, he asserted that:
The teaching of Jesus can never envisage intolerance or bigotry toward people we consider different. The truth must always be sought in love.
The archbishop also highlighted that intolerance is becoming noticeable in the church as well. He observed that:
There are those who feel that they can be zealously defending the Church while they are intolerant and disrespectful to those with whom they disagree.
And he argued that these people, who believe they are defending the church, create “barriers of narrowness and bitterness” as a result.
In the last few days footage has appeared online of Niall McConnell verbally abusing a priest in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo. McConnell, leader of the far-right Síol na hÉireann, and his supporters can he heard calling Fr Stephen Farragher a “heretic”. They also shout at him and others that he’s “not a Catholic”.
The group were apparently angry that the priest allowed the Muslim call to prayer to play a part during a mass in April. McConnell and his supporters can be heard drawing attention to this. One man says that “Islam desecrated that church”.
McConnell says he is there to peacefully protest and that:
We don’t believe in allowing satanic pagans into our Catholic church. This is a Catholic country, not a Muslim country. We will not stand idly by.
McConnell has also previously claimed that a “Zionist elite” are importing “jihadi Islamists” into Europe.
Confronting a private company
McConnell’s group has been confronted by anti-racism activists in Cork in recent weeks. The group has been fundraising around the country, possibly in violation of Standards in Public Office (SIPO) regulations.
And as also previously revealed by The Beacon, Síol na hÉireann is not registered as a political party. It is instead registered as a limited liability company with share capital and McConnell listed as its director.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons – P Dave