Irish bar accused of racism - IrishCentral readers have their say

The Attorney General has accused a Massachusetts  Irish bar, Peggy O’Neil’s, of implementing a white-only policy. The IrishCentral readers have posted interesting reactions on our site and Facebook page.

Martha Coakley has accused the bar of engaging in “a pattern of not allowing customers of color to enter and use the bar." The Attorney General’s charges detail how a group of locals went to the bar to celebrate a birthday however the African Americans, Hispanics and Cape Verdean members of the group were denied entry. The birthday celebrant and the other white members of the party were allowed into the bar.

The bar’s owner Caron O’Neil is taking strong exception to the lawsuit. She said “Absolutely, we do not discriminate against anybody...We’re a Dorchester neighborhood bar. That’s our customer base.”

IrishCentral readers had a very mixed reaction to this story. Many were utterly shocked that this kind of behavior still existed in the United States in 2011.

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A reader who calls himself Hyattsville called the bar’s alleged behavior “Barbaric and shameful.” He added “Sounds like attitudes haven't changed much in parts of Dorchester since I visited a friend of mine who bartended there about 20 years ago.”

Suivness10 despairingly wrote “Oh God, I thought we got past this. Sadly and unfortunately, not.”

Other IrishCentral readers were not in the least bit surprised by the alleged whites-only policy.

Pat52rk said “No surprise there , Irish people are some of the most racist I've ever met ..when you think they were discriminated themselves by the English ,one would think they would be more tolerant.”

Katherine M Cahill who knows the bar said she was “not surprised” by the alleged behavior.

One commenter called Eibhleann7 said that the behavior in this neighborhood of Dorchester. She explained “You have to understand the race relations in Boston to fully appreciate what is going on here. ...Last week there was a Urban Hip-Hop music festival in Boston...It ended with young blacks rioting in the streets and cars being set on fire. You may now understand why a bar owner might want to avoid any "trouble".

Many other commenters are waiting to hear more from the bar and their side of the story.

Thomas Fraser said Peggy O’Neil’s “have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason, there must be more to this story. There are always two sides.”
He continued “It doesn't have to be about race. Maybe they weren't dressed right, maybe they were already drunk, maybe they were using abusive language, two sides let’s hear from the owner before we judge.”