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Academic Challenged Over Irish News Story

30 July, 2004

West Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Hartley has challenged the academic responsible for a front page story in this mornings Irish News concerning a game supposedly being played by young children in the area mimicking sectarian clashes to produce evidence for his theory.

Cllr. Hartley said:

" This mornings front page story in the Irish News quotes extensively from a Coleraine based academic concerning a game he says is being played in nationalist areas of West Belfast which he calls 'catholic and protestants'. I have to say as someone who has worked and lived in West Belfast my entire life I have never witnessed or heard of this game.

" Is this academic really suggesting that children in West Belfast are going out and spending £40 or £50 on Rangers jerseys simply to play this game? I think not. This sort of story is fairly typical of what this community has come to expect from so called experts and academics who have little or no understanding of working class communities.

" This Professor should produce the evidence or the pictures of groups of young nationalists running around West Belfast in Rangers jerseys. Surely if this was the case it would not have been difficult for a photograph to have been produced to accompany the article.

" It would be more beneficial if academics like Prof. Cairns turned their attentions to seeking mechanisms to bring our divided communities together rather than indulging in some upper class fantasy view of life within our community." ENDS

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