Ireland wears red against racism - but to what avail?
2019-02-01 00:00:00 -


Comment: Juliette Chantitch


Show Racism the Red Card held its Wear Red Day late last year, encouraging schools, colleges, workplaces and the general public to wear red and take a stand against racism in Irish sport and life.


It’s the latest initiative from a long-running campaign that also organises competitions for schools that aim to educate Ireland’s future generations to help them understand and fight racism.


It complements the work of the likes of Sport Against Racism Ireland (Sari), founded in 1997 with the mission of promoting “positive integration and social inclusion through sport”.


Show Racism the Red Card was launched as an interactive resource by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties in 2008, with homegrown sporting stars of the time such as David Kelly and Kevin Kilbane using heir popularity to send a strong anti-racism message.


It was hoped that actions would lead to a decrease of racism in sport in Ireland. Three years on, however, Sari’s international officer Ken McCue admitted that racism was still very much an issue.


“We get reports week in, week out but sadly there is very little being done about it. We believe there should be a lot more prosecutions and fines, along with a greater education and awareness of racism.”


In 2018, social media is only amplifying the issue. Earlier in the year, Irish soccer player Cyrus Christie was the victim of racist comments on Twitter after Ireland’s qualification games during the World Cup campaign.


“I have experienced it a lot and it is kind of normal for me,” he said.


Speaking at Show Racism the Red Card’s Creative Competition prizegiving last April, former Ireland senior team manager Martin O’Neill said: “The situation has improved immensely over the last 25 to 30 years, but there are still problems.”


It remains to be seen whether wearing red against racism will make a difference to this situation.


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