It’s the early nineties and I am a wide eyed young Bhoy on the way home from Paradise on the Naomh Padraig C.S.C bus. Supporters club legend Ger Brady passes by me as I am leafing through the match day programme after another disappointing result and slaps a “Celtic Fans against fascism” sticker in the middle two pages.
Young and old the message was clear. There was no place for racism within our support. No exceptions, no excuses, No Pasaran. Thankfully, barring a few isolated incidents this has always been the case in my time following Celtic. Despite our on-field success, that story of the immigrant underdog overcoming the odds against such a ferocious barrel of hate has rung so through over decades among the Celtic faithful.
Within that social backdrop of tolerance, respect and empathy for all those struggling in life, I was horrified to see events in my own City ,Dublin on the night of 23.11.23, which saw throngs of youths, having been whipped up by Far right agitators, attempt to destroy our Fair city and attack anyone they didn’t deem “Proper Irish”, in response to a horrific attack on young schoolgirls earlier in the day.
Images went viral across the world and the reputational damage to Dublin and its inhabitants may take a long time to heal. Truth is, those that tried to besmirch our City are a small minority that offer society nothing only hate, division and fear. What sickened me in the days that followed were some so called “Celtic fans” here in Ireland, from wannabe Youtube “Superfans” to the usual faceless posts on social media try and peddle the narrative and playbook we have seen so often from those in the far right, with references to “Military aged Men” and constant refences to “Undocumented males”.
The fact that some of the video posts were made with the individuals wearing a Celtic shirt, a club lets be very clear founded by refugees shows you the level of intellect you are dealing with. There can be no debate with such hate and we as a support have a duty to tackle it head on. The statement from the committee of our C.S.C put out the day after the terrible events of that Thursday night, we feel truly reflects the spirit of Dublin and the spirit of Celtic.
We in Naomh Padraig C.S.C Dublin along with so many throughout the Country are still coming to terms with what the City went through yesterday. All our thoughts and prayers are with those horrendously injured by the grotesque attack on innocent school children and their teachers outside Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire on Parnell Square.
We were all horrified to see the actions that followed by a small but vocal minority attempting to besmirch the name of all those who reside in Dublin and blatantly try and destroy the livelihoods and places of employment that make up our Fair City. We have watched in disgust as a growing Far Right minority have tried to whip up frenzy, fear, and hysteria against those they do not deem to be “Proper Irish”.
For us Celtic fans this is like a history playbook that we have all read before. We are hugely cognisant that those migrants who founded Celtic suffered immense hardship, blatant racism and xenophobia from a section of the indigenous population in the west of Scotland who questioned their “Purity”. Celtic Football club, born of famine and oppression will always be a club where refugees, minority groups and those that don’t fit into the narrative that the far right peddle shall always feel at home.
You don’t get to be a Celt and be racist. To those who tried to besmirch our city. You will never win. Our city is a multi-cultural bastion of so many different creeds and cultures that have added vibrancy, passion, charm, and an eclectic mix of energy that continues to resonate off all our cities’ streets.
In every culture in life, you will find some bad eggs, but let’s be clear, we as proud Dubs have benefitted so much from those who have left their own lands and decided to call Dublin home. The spirit of Walfrid and the tolerance, respect and will to overcome that our Founding fathers showed when setting up Celtic football club on November 6th 1887 continues to flow strong in our City.
To those who try and push through their hate filled agenda, you will never overcome that spirit. Naomh Padraig C.S.C stands with our fellow Brothers and Sisters who have suffered at the hands of such hate. We Shall Never Be Defeated!!!
Ciaran Kenny is a member of Naomh Padraig CSC in Dublin since the early nineties. Ciaran is also a regular to Paradise and beyond since 1995, he is a season ticket holder at Celtic Park since 1999. and a Shareholder and also a member of the Celtic Trust. Ciaran has worked closely with the homeless services in Dublin City working with Don Bosco Care since 2001. Ciaran is also Chairperson of the Irish aftercare network which advocates for better outcomes for young people in care throughout all of Ireland. Ciaran has contributed to Mt90M since 2008.
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