Is abuse of the Irish race abuse?

From Rod Liddle’s column in the Sunday Times. “Great news: it is perfectly legal to call an Irish person a “f****** leprechaun.”
Do all types of Irish people need the protection of race hate laws any more? After all we’re our own worst enemies, little help from outside is necessary. In these days of the ( slightly mottled) Celtic tiger, the Irish image has been transformed – see Roy Foster’s Luck and the Irish, witty but not universally admired. Yet nasty residues remain.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London