So you’re browsing through the website of a mainstream national newspaper in Ireland and you unexpectedly stumble upon an article indulging the noxious views of two foreign immigrants, complete with racist terminology and antiquated opinions. Step forward Saturday’s Irish Times with a piece compiled by poet-cum-reporter Rosita Boland (yes, that Rosita Boland):
“One year in Ireland: John and Fiona Connolly, Skibbereen
John: The perception out there that the Irishman is a thick Mick is so wrong it’s unbelievable. We’re from London. We were living in France for 19 years, near Toulouse. We sat down one evening and said we’d go back to the British Isles. I said almost jokingly, how about the Republic of Ireland, and then we discovered that house prices here were very attractive.
I’d been in Ireland before, but it was 45 years ago; shooting grouse and Greenland white-fronted geese in Mayo. You can’t shoot those geese any more.
I feel more at home here than I ever felt in France. Cork is marvellous. I do get a bit impatient sometimes that things aren’t done a bit quicker.
If we’d had a vote in Brexit, we would have voted to leave, so we’re very pleased at the result. We might have lived in France for 19 years, but we’re Brits. The Brits have never been comfortable with Europe. They have an attitude of sheer bloody-mindedness; they don’t like people telling them what to do.
We’re already losing regular money from our British pensions as a result, but it’s worth it.
Fiona: We’re in Cork because we wanted to be in a country where people spoke English, and property was cheap here. You couldn’t really have conversations with French people. I didn’t speak much French.
On Brexit, the EU are doing things that one doesn’t have much of a say in. They’re too authoritative. Personally, I’ll feel much safer when Britain has its own say in Europe, rather than relying on what the EU tells us to do.”
Seriously, where does one even start with such attitudes, so casually expressed and so lacking in self-awareness? Who on earth believes that anti-Irish sentiment in Britain is equivalent to some sort of universal perception of Irish males as “thick Micks”, a perception that only prolonged familiarity with the Irish could surprisingly disprove? Are they incapable of grasping that emigrating to Ireland is not returning “back” to the British Isles, that we are not a territorial possession of the United Kingdom? Are they so lacking in empathy that they cannot understand how a community might feel when faced with two individuals who clearly disdain the language of those they live among, and for nineteen years? Have they any notion of the distinction between immigrant and colonist?
However, just as I go to write this, a Comment appears under this An Sionnach Fionn story:
“Put your pints down and get over it you retarded Micks”
You got to love the Brits. They rarely fail to meet your low expectations. Even Connollys.