You’ll Never Be Irish To Some People.

In #rabble9, Blog, Illustration, Politics, Print Editionby Joesph Loughane22 Comments


Joesph Loughnane was walking to the offie with a few mates one day when they were stopped by two young lads in their mid to late teens. They were looking for a cigarette so they kindly obliged. What happened next might surprise you.

One of them looked like he’d had a few cans already; cocky as hell, not a bother on him. A mate started chatting to them while I took a phone call. My other friends stood around waiting for us all to go our separate ways. Whilst on the phone I overheard one of the young lads say that he recognised me, I looked over and continued chatting into the phone. I didn’t expect what happened next.

My mate had grown tired of humouring them and it was approaching 10 so the two lads walked up past me, seeming like they were on their way. Suddenly, the cocky one started talking at me, ignoring the fact that I was on the phone. I informed him as much and moved closer to my friends. Then I heard it – “Paki”. The lad repeated it over and over again, sometimes adding swear words with it to give it extra effect. My friend on the phone could hear it too and was naturally concerned.

I turned to stare at the fella, his friend doing very little to tell him to stop. I analysed the situation: there was me and my 4 mates, all of us in our mid to late 20s, we were in the car park of a large supermarket, cars and people all around us.

I counted to ten over and over again, talking myself out of headbutting him. He stepped closer to me, hands in his pockets, spitting the word “Paki” directly into my face. One of my mates told him to stop and this seemed to rile the other young lad. I had a decision to make: give them a roughing up and walk on or hope they’d back off and walk away.

No matter how I explained it, if the five of us started clattering them it would have ended bad, if not there and then but definitely later with the Guards involved or when the two fellas decided to take revenge. I told them to stop, asked them to walk on and informed them I was still on the phone. The one giving the abuse tried to shake my hand but I wasn’t having it. I told him he’d seriously insulted me and that they should just go. I could feel myself shaking, not out of fear, but out of pure anger.

I thought about my Mam, the Pakistan flag in my room at home, the cricket jersey in my top drawer – how dare he make me feel bad for being mixed race. The two of them walked away and me and my friends made our way towards the shop. For the next two minutes as I walked away from them, the little racist started again, roaring “Paki” over and over again. I could feel people looking at me, I tried to drown it out but it echoed around the place. it was the most direct abuse I’d received in some time.

I didn’t want my mates to feel bad for not stepping in, I could see how furious they were. When I was younger, when this happened on a weekly basis…I would have just gone in all guns blazing. At almost 28, I think I was more shocked that this still happens in 2014. I’ve been in Galway almost my entire life, I’ve walked through that car park before those lads were even born. Regardless of my name and accent, people still want to point out my appearance and ethnicity and use it as a form of insult against me. Little do those two lads realise – I’m a proud Paki/Paddy.

Of course they’ll never understand that, so they target me (much like Ireland’s two-bit fascists and separately Zionists) and try to isolate me due to my colour. It’s still playing on my mind, but I think I did the right thing. Had they been older I’m pretty sure there would have been a different outcome. Just makes me prouder to be part Pakistani.

Illustration by Thomas McCarthy. Check out Joe’s blog where this originally appeared here.


    1. I’m half Irish half Saudi, lived and grew up in Dublin all my life, and that type of abuse happened to me all the time. It got on my nerves as well, because not only were some little bastards trying to offend me because of my slightly tanned tone of skin, but they got the nationality totally wrong. I was called a Paki, Nigger, Terrorist … every racist insult under the sun. As I got older tho, the racist slurs became less and less, but I do get the occasional insult here and there till this day.

  1. He did well to hold his temper tho losing it would have been ok too

  2. It’s not only people who are mixed race who get this stupid, narrow definition of Irishness being applied to them; because I’m very tall I often have people telling me I “can’t be Irish.” Ireland’s always had people from loads of different backgrounds, so why are you only Irish if you’re freckly, redhaired and 5’2″? Not trying to trivialise Joseph’s experience, which obviously transcends mere ignorance.

  3. Only people we don’t want in Ireland are the English, I hate them regardless of colour, race or sex. Those that called you Paki are not Irish, had you been English and they would have called you English bastard I’d have to say I understand that. Here we go wait for it I’m a xenophobic dinosaur , racist I’m waiting…I won’t go hand and in hand skipping down the green, white and gold brick road with anything English..

    1. Yawn. Eddie old fruit, you really are everything that personifies the fuck-witted ignoramus’ that unfortunately still co-habit the earth with tolerant and open-minded folk. Seriously man, explain the difference to me in what you just wrote and what Joseph experienced? Fucktarded pleb. Please, please, PLEASE . . . . for the good of humanity, NEVER procreate!

  4. Sry for offending you west Britishers apparently I don’t represent you, I’m heart broken save your crocodile tears about the English I don’t give a proverbial “f…..k”, Nice to know that you ass licking English lovers are still alive and well in Ireland .

  5. this piss poor article is really an essay on cowardice and the person who wrote it is a thief who was once fired from a retail job for bullying and intimidating a female staff member.happy monday:-)

  6. Actually Gary Elbert I used to work with him in the very shop you’re speaking of and that was not the case. I bet you’ve been on the receiving end of racist abuse so who are you to call him a coward? And to call this article piss poor when you can’t even comprehend the use of capitol letters or punctuation…right. G’luck.

  7. “What happened next might surprise you”. Really? People are surprised by this?? This has happened to my friends many times in Galway!

  8. Fair play to him for keeping the cool. Personally I think the lads should’ve been hopped off. It’s 2015, pleading ignorance to racism is a load of bollox.

  9. There is a diference between a racist and a bully, Bullies have always been and they thrive on difference. Because you live on a different street or because you went to a different school or because you are fat or because they don’t like the colour of your hair. That’s not racism. Racism is when a whole minority is discriminated against because of race color or creed. They don’t usually respond well to a swift sharp sock to the bollocks, which will be to the joy of most in attendance

  10. In 2015 you’ld think young people would be so accustomed to mixed races/ mixed religions, if not with classmates at least the internet ‘global village’ should have helped… too bad that, especially for us mixed races…

  11. You should be proud for the level of restraint you showed. However, the fact that this still happens now is embarrassing. Ireland has had a huge influx of immigration in the last 10+ years (I am aware that you have been in Ireland longer than that) and the country is struggling to adapt. Perhaps if concepts of race, ethnicity, and the benefits of immigration were taught in schools that would help the situation somewhat.

  12. One the English I think 1916 and the triumph of blood, religion and land by the founders of the Free State led to history teaching as anglophobia and myth laden. Here is what the historian Roy Foster wrote about this: The relation between Britain and Ireland is one of our most intimate enmities’. We got indendence but what we did with it is another matter.

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