24 February 2005 Edition
Community will not tolerate racism
West Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Hartley has spoken out about an incident in which a Filipino nurse was racially abused on the Falls Road last month. The nurse, who works at the Royal Victoria Hospital and lives nearby, is said to be very frightened and traumatised after she was racially abused by a gang of youths.
The nurse was told to "go back to your own country" in the incident, which only came to light in the last few days.
"The Filipino community make an enormous contribution not just to the lives of the people on the Falls Road but to the entire community in the North," said Hartley. "Filipino nurses do an enormous service to the community in West Belfast and are a part of the community here. The people of West Belfast will stand up and show that racism will not be tolerated."
Meanwhile, West Belfast GAA supporters have hit out at the Gardaí after they were subjected to immigration checks as they crossed the border on Sunday 13 February en route to Parnell Park to watch the O'Donavon Rossa club play in the All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling Championship semi-final.
One fan said his bus was about a mile across the border when they were stopped by the Gardaí, who said they were conducting an immigration check.
"They asked for our passports but everybody knows you don't need a passport for a trip to Dublin."
The man said the Gardaí were happy when the supporters showed driving licences and bank cards as a form of ID, but they focused their attention on a black man and made him get off the bus.
Anti-Racist Network activist Barbara Muldoon said she recently witnessed a similar immigration check as she travelled by bus to Dublin, when Gardaí ordered a man off the bus.
"The guy was of Chinese origin but had a local accent and was as Irish as the next person. He was extremely embarrassed," she said.
Muldoon said she tried to intervene but was told by a Garda to stop making a fuss.
"They say these checks are random but they always identify possible migrants by the colour of their skin. Now and again they carry out checks on white people to take the bad look off them but they are only cursory; it's an absolute disgrace."