Estate agent behind 'racist adverts' revealed…

A Belfast-based letting agency – which can be revealed first on Slugger as Homefinders on Botanic Avenue – advertised accommodation earlier this year in which ads suggest that some rental properties are vetted on the basis of race and ethnicity, according to the Irish News. Will Scholes and Suzanne McGonigle wrote that “adverts list conditions such as

  • Millie

    This is obviously the result of Homefinders having been paid a visit by the local boys, and the properties specified are probably located in and around Donegall Pass.

    They can probably be prosecuted under all sorts of laws but since there’s a police station not 50 yrds across the road from the agency, I doubt anything will happen to them. Perhaps this is an expression of the local loyalist culture, since similar signs were regularly displayed in Britain in the 50’s and 60’s, ironically against the Irish as well. But of course loyalists aren’t Irish so when many a Protestant travelled to England in the 50’s and 60’s, I’m sure they were slightly perturbed when they realised that said signs were actually referring to them! You can picture it now – “But I’m not Irish, I’m British!” – a response that would have gone over the head of the average racist landlord back then.

    But this is one British tradition loyalists could do without.

  • Davros

    That’s an interesting post Millie. You suggest Loyalists have adopted a British Tradition of the 50’s – Have you considered that they may hav adopted
    it from more recently publicised racist attitudes and behaviours seen in the ROI ?

  • ulsterman

    I think we need to be careful here. Sadly in society there are areas which is no go for certain people. Why move into an area your not wanted in. Brick through the window, intimidation etc.

    I do not justify it but I think it is just realism on the part of Homefinders.

    God Save The Queen.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Ulsterman

    Would you apply the ‘Don’t go where you’re not wanted’ logic to Orange marches?

    ..or is that ‘different’?

  • Keith M

    I would also advise caution here. If the letting agency were the instigators of these ads then there might well be a story, but if they were simply working under instruction from the property owners then there shouldn’t be an issue. Individual people (thankfully) still have the right to discrimate in everything they do, and such an expression of free thought in an age where PC fascists would like to tell us how to think, this is to be welcomed.

  • oceanclub

    I goes to show how utterly meaningless the term “PC” has become, when someone who disagrees with racial discrimination becomes a “fascist”.

    The Racial Relations Act seems quite confused about this:

    http://www.cre.gov.uk/legaladv/rra_scope.html

    “Owner-occupiers selling or letting their property are exempt from the amended Act if they do not advertise or use an estate agent and the discrimination is on grounds of colour or nationality. This exemption does not apply if the discrimination is on grounds of race, ethnic or national origins.”

    Quite how you can legally discriminate on the grounds of color, but not on race. beats me.

    P.

  • ulsterman

    As I said you do have to be careful here, The last thing propery owners want is a house burnt out by a petrol bomber. In our society this does go on.

    Living in a wishy washy world where racism does not exist is not realistic. What good does a parade against racism do when those attending arent racist anyway.

    I am sure that estate agents have long divided Ulster up into Catholic and Protestant areas. There are areas of Belfast I could not live in.

    Ethnic minorities will just have to live with it. I know that there is pressure on Donegall Pass for the Chinese to move in. There are a lot of Chinese restaurants in the Botanic area. However Donegal Pass has for decades been a hugely Loyalist area. The Loyalists will not surrender to a Chinatown.

    Those from the ethnic minorities have to respect that.

  • ulsterman

    the comment about loyalist band parades is not apt. As citizens of Her Majesty and as law abiding taxpayers we have the right to walk the Queens Highway.

    God Save The Queen.

  • Fraggle

    It’s official…..Ulsterman is no longer amusing!

  • Davros

    Was he ever ‘amusing’ Fraggle ? My hope is that he is a troll from t’other side’s dirty tricks department πŸ˜‰

  • Fraggle

    At one point I thought he might be but recently he has moved from caricature to earnest bigot and racist. I think he’s for real and his comedy mask is slipping.

  • Alan

    There is no excuse!

    Any Lettings Agency that would publish racist and exclusive adverts is plainly in the wrong. They should be prosecuted. Not only do they place themselves in the wrong, but they threaten any business who would print their material.

    Why would any decent landlord use their services? Would this activity ever be sanctioned by the Landlord’s Association of Northern Ireland?

    If asked to include such information on an advert, the business concerned should simply refuse to take the business, because there are no excuses.

  • George

    “Have you considered that they may hav adopted
    it from more recently publicised racist attitudes and behaviours seen in the ROI ?”

    Really Davros, do you think that your average loyalist thug tunes in to RTE and travels south to mingle with Irish people.

    Interesting that when you look at the level of racist attacks in Northern Ireland the first thing that comes to your mind is how you can apportion blame to Ireland (Republic of) for it.

    Why take responsibility for this matter when you leave everything else in the hands of others.

  • Davros

    Davros :”Have you considered that they may hav adopted it from more recently publicised racist attitudes and behaviours seen in the ROI ?”

    Really Davros, do you think that your average loyalist thug tunes in to RTE and travels south to mingle with Irish people.

    You think that the racism problems in the ROI aren’t covered by outlets other than RTE ? That’s astonishingly parochial of you George. You may not have noticed for example that loathesome groups from England were widely reported as offering their services in the ROI BECAUSE of the widely held view of the ROI as a happy hunting ground for Racism ? You think that people up here weren’t aware of the discussion about whether the referendum was pandering to racism ?

    Come on George. You cannot blame every wrong in the world on England.

  • George

    Davros,
    Where did I mention England or blame England for anything? Nowhere so I don’t know what you are going about in your post.

    You on the other hand immediately referred to racism in Ireland (Republic of) in your reply as a possible reason for racism by loyalists in Belfast. Explain that jump to me please.

    Which loathsome groups from England are you referring to? Combat 18, who have spoken on loyalist platforms and who have been known to cavort around during the Orange Order cultural festival period looking for people to burn out?

    The British National Party perhaps? They both love us alright.

    It might make more sense to look closer to home than looking south for someone to blame.

    You are living in Walter Mitty world if you think that the race attack problem in Belfast is comparable with the rest of Ireland (Republic of).

    Or is this just a trivial matter for you, something else to sweep under the carpet or even better to blame the Irish for?

  • George

    Davros,
    FYI: From the Times July, 2003:

    A NOTORIOUS American race-hate group has been forced to abandon its recruitment drive in the republic because the Irish are not fascist enough.
    The Neo-Nazi National Alliance, also known as NSRUS, adopted the motto

  • Davros

    George – ‘you’ was plural. Still chuckling at your stereotyping of NI people and your spite at having a few home truths pointed out – that Racism is a problem in all 32 counties.

  • Davros

    British racists offer support to Irish anti-immigration party

    Immigration Control Platform Anti-Chinese Press Release

    Neo-Nazi thugs stage incident in Longford

    But Hey George – you pretend everything’s perfect in the 26 and smear the entire unionist community because of an unrepresentative and loathed minority within it.

  • George

    Davros,
    I never said everything was perfect in the 26 counties. Please tell me where I wrote that. Your imagination is running riot here.

    What I did write was that “you are living in Walter Mitty world if you think that the race attack problem in Belfast is comparable with the rest of Ireland (Republic of).”

    I stand by that statement. That is not to say Ireland, like every country, doesn’t have a problem to deal with, it is however to say that Northern Ireland has a much more pressing issue to deal with.

    But let’s address these links you put up:

    Anti-Immigration platform:
    Justin Barrett ran in the European elections as an independent and not on the anti-immigration issue but as a religious Eurosceptic and got a grand total of 10 thousand odd votes out of the 1.8 million votes cast. He also got attacked the last time he tried speak on a platform south of the border.

    Immigration control platform:
    The Immigration Control Platform (ICP) received a grand total of 926 votes in the 2002 general election and 110 votes in the 2004 local elections.

    Neo-Nazis:
    “This is the first time we have ever seen this type of thing in Longford, it is a very worrying development. It is unwelcome obviously, and if anybody has any information relating to this matter, we would ask them to contact the Gardai. We are taking it very seriously,

  • Davros

    You are playing games George.

    By all means feel free to attack racism and racists wherever you see it. But you damage the sincerity of any claim you have to be anti-racist when it looks as if your primary motivation is Brit-bashing and smearing the wider unionist community.

    On the ICP – bear this in mind – The ONLY racist party registered to and actually contesting elections in the 32 counties is the ICP – and you might try to shrug off 926 votes , but that 926 votes looks very sinister considering that was in one small ward.

    Finally – Amnesty International in Ireland-

    May 2004

    Research published recently by Amnesty International revealed the Government’s ongoing failure on racism. According to Amnesty?s findings, while 56 per cent of people in Ireland believe that racism is a serious problem in the country, only 26 per cent of the public says the Government is doing enough to combat the rise of racism in Ireland.

    “Three years ago we mounted a campaign urging the Government to show Leadership Against Racism. These figures reveal the Government’s failure, and its dangerous neglect of racism in Ireland,” said Colm

  • George

    “By all means feel free to attack racism and racists wherever you see it. But you damage the sincerity of any claim you have to be anti-racist when it looks as if your primary motivation is Brit-bashing and smearing the wider unionist community.”

    Davros I never mentioned British anywhere in any of my posts never mind bashing it. I in no way smeared the wider unionist community. Please stop making things up as it makes it very difficult to have any kind of coherent discussion.

    You put forward the laughable theory that thugs in Belfast were reacting to racist attitudes in the Irish Republic. That is plain rubbish and that is what I replied to. But if that makes me anti-unionist in your book I don’t know where to start.

    “but that 926 votes looks very sinister considering that was in one small ward”. You obviously haven’t been to Dublin South central recently. Ms Ni Chonnaill got just over 2% of the vote and she didn’t have an organisation to be able to run anywhere else. Where were the 5,000 members one your articles seem to think she has? The 110 votes were in Cork out of 7,500.

    I said Ireland, like every country, has a racism problem to deal with, but that “you are living in Walter Mitty world if you think that the race attack problem in Belfast is comparable with the rest of Ireland (Republic of).”

    It seems you would rather turn this into a “but we’re still better than the Irish” than face the issue. And in the meantime, the tiny non-white population of Belfast continues to live in fear and the region’s muslims continue to live without a mosque.

    I read a nice quote from Tom Kelly in the Irish News which seems to sum you up perfectly:

    “The blight of Northern Ireland has been the bystander.”

  • Nathan

    Whenever I read of another racial attack in Northern Ireland and in the Republic it is Joyce which springs to the forefront of my mind, and the cosmopolitan, anti-racist republicanism espoused.

    We should be taking out our Ulysses more often. It is the greatest anti-racist text the English language has ever known, and it challenges right from the beginning the vicious racism which lies so close to the foundations of Irish society.

  • Davros

    You put forward the laughable theory that thugs in Belfast were reacting to racist attitudes in the Irish Republic.

    That is simply untrue .

    a pathetic attempt to smear.

  • Keith M

    Oceanclub “It goes to show how utterly meaningless the term “PC” has become, when someone who disagrees with racial discrimination becomes a “fascist”.

    Nobody has said that someone who disagrees with racial discrimination is a fascist, HOWEVER forcing others to think and behave in a certain way on this issue most certainly is. Anoyone who opposes freedom of thought or freed of expression is a fascist in my book.

    The nonsense pointed out by the clause you have posted, just shows what a ridiculous are this is. Anyone should have the right to discrimate in any way they wish as to who enters let alone rents their private property.

  • Davros

    the region’s muslims continue to live without a mosque.

    Try to do some research before smearing George.

    I used to stay a few doors away from this Mosque in Belfast.

    You Do know that Belfast is in Northern Ireland?

    Belfast Islamic Centre, 38 Wellington Park, Belfast, BT9 6DN has had a Mosque since 1978

  • oceanclub

    Anoyone who opposes freedom of thought or freed of expression is a fascist in my book

    Noone’s opposing that here. Landlords are quite able to think or say that they wants. It’s their behaviour in denying racial minorities a place to live that’s the point.

    I presume you think the “No Irish, no blacks and no dogs” signs displayed by landlords in 50s London were quite alright, a valid form of expression, and that any opposition to such behaviour is “fascist”?

    P.

  • George

    Davros,
    this is what you wrote:
    “Have you considered that they may hav adopted
    it from more recently publicised racist attitudes and behaviours seen in the ROI ?”

    I repeate: You put forward the laughable theory that thugs in Belfast were reacting to racist attitudes in the Irish Republic. Why do you consider this statement untrue. This is what you wrote yourself.

    Show me where I Brit bashed or smeared the wider unionist community which you untruthfully wrote.

  • George

    Davros,
    I suppose I made the mistake of believing the Belfast Telegraph which wrote that Northern Ireland didn’t have a purpose-built mosque. But do you think praying at the local Islamic centre is good enough, rather than a specific mosque?

    “Protestant Unionists on Craigavon Borough Council were accused of displaying ignorance today in a row over plans to build a mosque.

    Outline planning permission has been granted for the construction of Northern Ireland’s first mosque, in a field at Bleary, near Portadown.

    But after objections from some Unionist councillors and local residents, planners were asked to reconsider and a final recommendation has yet to be made.

    Former Ulster Unionist Mayor of Craigavon Fred Crowe said he was opposed to the mosque on infrastructure grounds, claiming it would pose traffic, noise and drainage problems.”

    But then again this is a newspaper that thinks the Monasterevin bypass is already open.

  • Keith M

    Oceanclub, you seem unable to grasp a pretty simple concept. Just because I think someone should be allowed to do something, it most certainly does not follow that I think that it is right.

    I don’t deny people the right to smoke, the right express support for terrorists, the right to discriminate based on race, colour, sex, sexual orientation…ad infinitum. Do I think that it is right to do these things? No. That is the difference between me (and most other people) and those who want to limit people to doing what they think is right.

    I do however think that it is quite right and proper for people renting property to use whatever criteria they wish to select the tenants they want.

  • ulsterman

    Again we need to be careful here. Craigavon has enough sectarian problems without having racial ones as well. A purpose built mosque would lead to a load of Muslims moving into the area it was built in. A ghetto would be formed. This is what has happened in England wherever Mosques have been built.

    The local people have a right to object to this.

  • Davros

    Davros,
    this is what you wrote:
    “Have you considered that they may hav adopted
    it from more recently publicised racist attitudes and behaviours seen in the ROI ?”

    I repeate: You put forward the laughable theory that thugs in Belfast were reacting to racist attitudes in the Irish Republic.

    If you cannot see the difference then why should I bother George ?

    Come on – wise up! Do you REALLY think the neanderthals behind the attacks here have gone to the trouble of reseaching what happened in England FIFTY years ago ? I was being sarcastic George!
    Millie put forward a daft suggestion. I replied in kind by suggesting as a possibility something almost as stupid.
    The news NOW covers racist incidents around the world – including regular racist incidents from the ROI. One in FIVE people in the ROI have SEEN a Racist incident.

    But as I say, if you cannot work out the difference and if you want to base your smears of NI on untruths such as your claim that there isn’t a mosque in Northern Ireland , I’m not going to waste a lot more time on you.

  • Davros

    George – a mosque is a mosque regardless of whether it is “purpose-built” – if you took a little time to do some research you would find that many of the earliest mosques were “converted” rather than purpose built.

  • George

    Davros,
    just writing where I got my information on “the Northern Ireland’s first mosque” which is why I also wrote about Monasterevin.

    You don’t have to tell southerners about converting things for religious purposes which gives me great idea.

    Maybe Muslims could have Mosque rocks up north? At least then there wouldn’t be a need for planning permission.

  • Davros

    Ah, I wondered how long it would be before we entered sacred cow country πŸ™‚

  • Davros

    Your reading skills aren’t that hot George.
    Take away “, in a field at Bleary,” and we are left
    with – Outline planning permission has been granted for the construction of Northern Ireland’s first mosque near Portadown.

    And this would have been the first mosque near portadown.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Ulsterman raises a very good point, there are areas of Belfast he could not live it. We have problems, that is a fact.

    if it is the owners using these terms and instructing the letting agent, they have a right to discriminate, it is the state which does not.

    If it is the agent using these terms, then I would suggest they are being socially responsible and living up to their duty of care by not knowingly sending ethnic minority to the lions! You cannot fight fire with fire.

  • Davros

    Michael – the problem is that any attempt to look at any other aspect of this other than that racists are disgusting will end up being labelled as “excusing” or “supporting” the racists.

  • oceanclub

    Keith, one wonders how long you would be blase towards racial discrimination if you knew you were the one suffering from it. One wonders how long you would endlessly search for a job or rental accommodation, gritting your teeth as you think to yourself “I can’t be annoyed, since I defend the right of all these people to their honest opinion that I’m worthless because of my race or skin colour. Perhaps I’ll suck cock for a living and sleep in a bus shelter.”

    P.

  • Alan

    Landlords are providing a service for payment, therefore they cannot discriminate in who they would rent their properties to.

    It’s a business. Forget the nonesense of *private property* allowing you to discriminate.

  • Davros

    Savage attacks in dirty old town

    Seems that attacks on ‘outsiders’ aren

  • George

    Dublin can be a rough place on a Friday and Saturday for locals too Davros, not just for Canadians and Italians. However, they would be considered easy pickins for kickins cos they very rarely kick back.
    In fact, many cities at 3am are, especially with large numbers of people with drink taken.

    Drunken youths looking for fights with anyone they can find is unpleasant and has to be dealt with but it is a completely different situation to an orchestrated campaign of attacks on the homes of non-nationals.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The content of the adverts are sad, but unfortunately are now a fact of life in parts of Belfast.
    As discussed on Slugger before there is a ongoing problem with depopulating inner city unionist areas. Primarily in North Belfast and in pockets of West and south Belfast.
    Again the unfortunate fact is that in these areas the UDA and UVF hold sway. In North Belfast the increasing Cathloic population is trhe enemy. In Sth Belfast it is the Chinese community and others.

    It follows that the PUP and UPRG should be held responsible (politically) for these activities. One would think that in such circumstances the main body politic of unionism would weigh in against the racist behaviour on show. But when you hear the likes of Ruth Patterson and even Michael Mc gimpsey one cannot feel anything but despair.
    But then again Ruth didn’t know of the connection between the PUP abd UVF, and the UPRG and UDA.
    So it looks like that in a lot of these communities the ethnic minorities are on their own.

  • Millie

    Actually Davros, I was suggesting that NI is beginning to display the same racist sentiments that were once considered the norm in England 40 odd years ago. I know loyalists aren’t purposely copying what the English did, they’re doing it because they’re racist bastards.

    ‘I do however think that it is quite right and proper for people renting property to use whatever criteria they wish to select the tenants they want.’

    Fair enough Keith, I assume you’re referring to a persons status, like student, DHSS, professional etc. It does NOT mean characteristics like skin colour, ethnicity, or nationality, attributes you’re born with and can do nothing about. I can understand Homefinders predicament, they’re trying to run a business and have been lent on by paramilitaries to refuse certain people.

    But what do the elected representatives of the area in question have to say? Patterson and McGimpsey don’t care because it doesn’t affect their constituents, i.e. unionist/Protestant voters. Perhaps it would be a good thing if direct rule continues because the calibre and standard of NI’s local representatives won’t inspire much confidence in ethnic minority communities. Sadly Pat’s right, it looks like the ethnic communities are on their own, and hey who knows maybe they’ll need to start their own paramilitary group to get their rights, after all that does seem to be the way in Norn Irn.

  • Davros

    Thanks for the clarification Millie. All rascists are bastards. Loyalist racists are no better and no worse than NI nationalist racists or racists in Dublin.