Most race attack victims `are white': The Irishman

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The Independent Online
AFTER living in England for 37 years, Tony Boland was forced to return to his native Limerick by anti-Irish feelings that followed the 1996 Manchester bomb.

First his home was daubed with slogans such as "Irish scum" and "murdering bastards", and then his car was vandalised.

The 56-year-old widower, who worked as a housing caretaker in the inner- city Manchester district of Hulme, returned to Ireland last year to protect his son Kieron, aged eight.

He said: "The resentment really started after the bomb. The attitude towards Irish people changed even when you just went shopping. I couldn't stand it any more. I was frightened for my son."

Discrimination against Britain's million-strong Irish community has long been hidden by the fact that it is not a colour issue.

Researchers have found that most Irish people surveyed could identify instances of behaviour which they found insulting, hurtful or intimidating.

Old stereotypes remain. Depictions of an Irish family in the television soap opera Brookside - of having IRA links and of grazing horses in their garden - prompted Martin Brady, deputy leader of the Fianna Fail party in Ireland, to complain of "pure racism".