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This group of Irish grandfathers are protesting against racism on a weekly basis

Gary Grimes

Published 

This group of Irish grandfathers are protesting against racism on a weekly basis

Featured Image Credit: The Irish Times on Twitter

Old Irish men and progressive activism don't always go hand in hand... in fact, we'd go as far to say they're more often than not worlds apart.

But did you know there's a small group of Irish grandfathers in Dublin who, for over two years, have dedicated their time to protesting against racism in Dublin city centre on a weekly basis?

The group of friends can be spotted gathered on Dublin's O'Connell Street in front of the Spire every week holding a banner saying 'Grandfathers Against Racism' as an act of protest and solidarity with people of marginalised ethnic backgrounds in Ireland.

"I have lived in different parts of the world - Africa, Asia, South America. Now I'm back in Dublin," one member of the group Benny McCabe told Dublin Live recently."My life has been enriched by living in different cultures. People have been kind to me wherever I lived. Now I'm back in my home and I see lots of people from many different cultures here."

"It's just taking a stand, bearing witness to values that I have that all human beings are equal. It's about conversation," McCabe continued.

"The whole debate has become polarised for or against. It needs to be enriched and deepened by having a conversation. That's where new life comes about, instead of the same old conversation."

The group first banded together in the run up to the referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment. During this time they held a banner reading "Grandfathers Say Yes."

Now, however, they are focussing their efforts on campaigning against racial inequality.

"We've been coming here for the last couple of years. We're demonstrating against racism," said group member Kevin Cronin. "We do this once a week. We feel strongly about racism, not only internationally and in America but in Ireland.

"I think you have to be thinking about it all the time and it's a process to get people to come to terms with race relationships. We've been doing it for a number of years and we hope to keep it up.

"There's about eight or nine of us, five of us here today. We're mostly on the southside. We're friends who go back a number of years."

We think it's safe to say these auld lads - or should we say auld legends - are putting us all to shame!

Topics: Ireland

Gary Grimes
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