On Tuesday 14th May, Cork’s 96 FM aired a racist and bigoted rant by Neil Prendeville.
“We have created a country that is governed by men and women who are motivated by greed and cronyism, employing as staff members husbands and wives, sons and daughters, boyfriends and girlfriends.
We have created a country that has people who won’t work now joined by people who can’t work. We provide medical cards to Africans while Irish children go sick because their working parents can’t afford a doctor’s visit or prescription. We provide social welfare to former Russians and Children’s Allowance to kids living in Eastern Europe.
We have a local government who offer public authority housing to families who turn them down because the gardens are not big enough or its too far from where they grew up.
We annually send hundreds of millions of euro of tax payer’s money all over the world in foreign aid, in many cases to countries run by corrupt dictators.”
After blaming Africans, Eastern Europeans, foreign aid, and those living in council housing, Prendeville continued his 4 minute rant by going on to blame the public sector and people living on welfare/benefits. And not only have 96 FM not made an apology - they’ve reposted the rant on their Facebook page!
Lies, lies, lies
Ireland has serious problems. Since 2007 the proportion of jobless households has increased from 15 to 22%. 10% of people are living in food poverty. At 19.7%, we’ve the EU’s 5th highest rate of child poverty. 30.7% of young people are unemployed. And in the last 4 years 308,000 people have left Ireland.
But blaming these problems on immigrants or public sector workers doesn’t solve anything. Ireland’s problems have been caused by the global economic crisis made extra-painful by the way the country was run for the last 20 years - no investment in infrastructure, de-regulation, speculation, and corruption.
By blaming the victims instead of the perpetrators we are only going to deepen the economic problems of the country when we could be fixing them.
Not only lies, but dangerous lies
The type of bile that Prendeville spews causes huge disruption to society. It puts private sector against public sector, people against the claiming benefits, and ‘white Irish’ against anyone who doesn’t look ‘traditionally’ Irish.
Friends have always told me that it wasn’t fantastic growing up in Ireland when you didn’t look like you were from the country. But since the recession has hit, out and out racism has been on the rise.
In the last week:
- racist graffiti was daubed on a wall in Galway
- a Dublin bus driver was attacked
- there’s been physical and verbal assaults on African and Muslim women and a South American man.
These are the ones that have been reported. Having a (more-or-less) respected public persona voice these views will only increase distrust, inequality, and racist attacks.
It’s time to name and shame the people who make these racist statements and the companies who air those views.