‘Irish Lives Matter’ graffiti in Belfast, signs against ‘rehousing’ illegal migrants spark hate probe: report

The message “Irish Lives Matter” scrawled in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as well as a sign posted saying one neighborhood would “no longer accept the rehousing of illegal immigrants” are reportedly being investigated by local police as hate-related incidents. The BBC, which also shared photos of the messaging, first reported about the investigation Wednesday. 

People Before Profit’s Gerry Carroll, whose social media profile contains various images showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement, condemned the incident in a statement. 

“Vile, intimidatory signs were erected in the Suffolk area calling for immigrants not to be housed there. Meanwhile, ‘Irish Lives Matter,’ was scrawled on a wall at the Kennedy Centre on Falls Road overnight,” Carroll wrote. “Nefarious and far-right elements are seeking to blame migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees for the problems caused by the rich and governments who protect and bolster corporate profits at all costs.” 

“Irish Lives Matter” spray-painted on a wall outside the Kennedy Centre in West Belfast.  (UTV.com)

“We are under no illusions that ‘Irish Lives Matter’ is a racist slogan which is directly counterpoised to movements against the oppression faced by black people and other ethnic minorities,” he said. “In recent days we have seen the chilling effect that the growth and intervention of far-right forces in the South can have on communities who are marginalized,” Carroll added, referring to the riots that unfolded across Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, in response to the stabbing of several people, including a woman and three children, outside a primary school in the city center. Local reports identified the suspect as an Algerian man who had become an Irish citizen after living on welfare in the country for decades. 

IRELAND ANTI-HATE LAW PUSHED IN WAKE OF DUBLIN RIOTS COULD CRIMINALIZE MEMES, POSES FREE SPEECH CONCERNS

anti-Semitic graffiti in Belfast

A person walks past a pro-Palestinian mural with the antisemitic trip “from the river to the sea” on Falls Road in Belfast on Monday Nov. 27, 2023.  (Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)

Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey condemned the signs as “disgraceful,” claiming they had been “erected in an attempt to create fear and intimidate people,” the BBC reported. 

A BBC photo of one sign posted in the Tildarg Avenue area had a word blurred out, but the outlet said it displayed an “an offensive term while referring to ‘other communities’.” 

“Political and community leaders must stand together to continue building a safe, welcoming and inclusive society for all,” Maskey said. 

Pro-Gaza spray painted message in Belfast

A woman walks past a pro-Palestinian mural in Belfast on Monday Nov. 27, 2023.  (Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)

In response to the Dublin riots, fueled by concerns over mass immigration into the country battling a housing and cost-of-living crisis, Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar vowed to “modernize laws against hatred,” pushing legislation widely considered by critics as a radical affront to free speech. 

PROTESTS OVER FRENCH TEEN’S FATAL STABBING LEAD TO CALLS FOR CRACKDOWN ON ‘FAR-RIGHT’

The proposed anti-hate law notably criminalizes the possession of material “likely to incite violence or hatred,” and could reportedly punish individuals for merely having memes saved to their phones that some may consider politically offensive. 

Palestinian mural in Belfast

A man walks past a pro-Palestinian mural on the International Wall in Belfast on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023.  (Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the streets of Belfast, a part of the United Kingdom, have been photographed with murals, flags and graffiti in support of Palestinians in recent weeks amid the Israel-Hamas war. Some of the signage contains messages calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, and one mural even displays the antisemitic slogan, “from the river to the sea,” calling for the annihilation of Israel, painted along the same Falls Road in Belfast where the “Irish Lives Matter” message was also found. 

Palestinian flag in Belfast

A Palestinian flag outside a home on Falls Road in Belfast on Monday Nov. 27, 2023.  (Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Earlier this month, Britain’s interior minister accused the country’s largest police force of being more lenient toward pro-Palestinian demonstrators than other groups, deepening a political feud sparked by the Israel-Hamas war. In a highly unusual attack on the police, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said London’s Metropolitan Police force was ignoring lawbreaking by “pro-Palestinian mobs,” decrying demonstrators calling for a cease-fire in Gaza as “hate marchers.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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