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Police call scheme to clean up dog mess ‘Operation Irish’


A POLICE FORCE in Wales has provoked outrage after naming a community education programme about dog mess “Operation Irish”.

An angry father was alerted to the name after being told about a visit made by police officers to his child’s primary school in the Llanedeyrn district of Cardiff.

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“It’s like a throwback to earlier centuries, when Irish people were portrayed as monkeys or sub-human creatures,” he said.

“Obviously it’s a good idea to educate children about the danger of dog mess. But when I heard the exercise had been named Operation Irish, I thought it was outrageous.

“For a police force to use a name of this kind in such a connection is beyond belief. They should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.”

Lila Haines, an Irish grandmother who has lived in Wales for 40 years said: “I’m horrified that anyone could think it appropriate to allow a connection to be made between dog mess and Irish people. It’s particularly insensitive in a city where it has been estimated that up to 30 per cent of the population are of Irish descent.

“I can’t imagine what they were thinking of – such a gaffe is inevitably going to give rise to allegations of racism.”

Newport West Labour MP Paul Flynn, who grew up the descendant of Irish immigrants in Grangetown, Cardiff, told Walesonline: “The choice of Operation Irish as the name for an educational programme about dog mess is an act of Olympian stupidity.”

In 1960s England, and especially in London, many landlords and owners of bed and breakfasts and boarding houses put signs in their windows stating: “No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish”.

A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said:

“This is an educational operation aimed at encouraging dog owners to be responsible. Operational names are randomly assigned to policing operations for administrative purposes. They do not in any way reflect the nature of the police activity or subject matter.

“It would never be our intention to offend and it is regrettable if that is the case.”


Robert Mulhern

Robert is a freelance news and sports journalist. He is also the author of A Very Different County and creator/producer of Sex, Flights and Videotapes for RTE's Doc on One. Follow him @MulhernRobert on Twitter

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