Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Al Qaeda & "the Irish"

Seaghán Ó Murchú writing in The Blanket about Irishman Sean Ó Cealleagh, who is threatened by deportation from America, made use of assumptions that are long-standing (maybe stereotypes is more accurate?), but may no longer be valid.
Refusing to let Ó Cealleagh remain in his new homeland, in the name of a supposed heightened “security,” saves nobody. If terrorists lurk to overthrow the U.S., I doubt that they will be found among Irish émigrés.
I know that Irish-Americans would agree with that assumption without a second thought.

BUT, what if that isn't true? Front page of the Sunday Business Post this week had the following headline, "Madrid bombing suspect was educated in Ireland". Now, when I read this article something about it made me feel that this guy probably isn't involved in the Madrid bombing, but he could be. The article doesn't mention whether the suspect carries an Irish passport, but he did do his inter and leaving certs here. That means he spent a good few years here as a teenager.

Further down in the article, this passage was even more alarming:
In 2002, it emerged that a man with an Irish passport had attended a secret meeting in Spain with Mohammed Atta six months before the attacks on the World Trade Center.
As much as I'd like to believe that no Irish emigrant could pose a serious risk to the US, I can't accept that unquestionably. Holders of UK, French and other EU countries' passports all represent a threat to the US. Why not Ireland? If not today, then tomorrow. It's a certainty.

Not every Irish émigré is going to be a "freckly-faced Catholic". The old assumptions are no longer valid.