Race and Ireland. An incident in Limerick in 1979… August 24, 2007Posted by WorldbyStorm in Ireland, Society, Uncategorized.
While we’re still digesting the news about P. Rabbitte, thought I’d throw this out. I was watching Siar sna Seachtóidí on TG4 [and on my internet browser the fada's don't come up properly, which is odd for what is presumably and primarily an Irish language website] some weeks back, which covered news stories from 1970s. The year was 1979. Fabulous stuff. Happy Man was the entry in the Eurovision, a song that managed to marry Neil Diamond and Abba in a toothgrinding combination. Gay Byrne flirted with the Rose of Tralee. Princess Grace of Monaco, Irish/French accent in tow, opened the Theater Festival.
20,000 people marched in the Wood Quay protests but the diggers went in anyway. Hundreds of thousands marched in the PAYE Tax protests, and nothing was done about it. Jack Lynch resigned as Taoiseach.
Watching the footage it wasn’t hard to believe that Ireland was in some small way a sort of cousin of the Eastern bloc. Everything was drab browns and grey. The news reports filled with shiny mens suits and flammable looking womens dresses.
But in amidst all that was a remarkable, and troubling, story about four Nigerian students in NIHE in Limerick who were refused entry to the Savoy venue in the city.
The students said that they were told blacks weren’t allowed in.
When the media caught hold of the story the excuses provided by the management ranged from the absurd, “…other students had used foul language…” to the pathetic… “confusion over pricing” and finally “…the venue was full and because they were in the overspill they weren’t allowed in”.
Planxty, who had been booked to play the Savoy a couple of nights later, cancelled their gig and moved it to NIHE in solidarity with the students, and a petition was organised in the college.
A small incident. But revealing for the range of responses both good and bad. Does anyone remember anything further about it? Were there any repercussions?