- 12 Feb 20
They're teaming up with Amnesty International Ireland to highlight the obscenity of Direct Provision
Having brought us a very snazzy red, gold and green number a couple of seasons ago to celebrate their Bob Marley connections – he played Dalymount in 1980 with the Wailers – Bohemian FC is marking the 20th anniversary of Ireland introducing Direct Provision with a ‘Refugees Welcome’ away strip.
Launched today in partnership with Amnesty International Ireland, it also features the ‘Love Football, Hate Racism’ slogan on the collar.
"We are delighted to unveil this very special shirt today which was made possible by our main club partner, Des Kelly Interiors,” says Bohs Director, Daniel Lambert. “Football is a universal language and it can be a vehicle for great good in our society. At the core of the Bohemian identity is inclusiveness and a desire to utilise football as a means to improve our society as a whole.
“We made the decision to allow our shirt to be used a platform, alongside Amnesty International, to highlight a very real and pressing issue in Ireland today, that of Direct Provision,” Lambert, who also happens to be the manager of Belfast rappers KNEECAP, continues. “This builds on a deep and lasting relationship we have built with MASI and through multiple engagements with people living in Direct Provision.”
Echoing those sentiments, Amnesty International Ireland’s Colm O’Gorman says: “Bohemian FC and their supporters have an incredible track record on social justice issues. We’ve long respected the practical solidarity they’ve shown people seeking asylum and refugees, so this is a fantastic opportunity to bring our supporters together to call for an end to Direct Provision.
“Direct Provision is an ongoing human rights scandal,” O’Gorman continues. “The system is fundamentally flawed, trapping people for years in limbo and isolating them from communities in inhumane, institutionalised conditions. We know there are challenges like the current housing crisis, but this has been going on for 20 years through successive governments. We need a new approach, one that protects people’s human rights. The Direct Provision system is hurting people, especially vulnerable groups like victims of torture, and children and families. So no more excuses. This has to end.”
The unveiling of the shirt has been welcomed by Lucky Khambule, coordinator for Movement of Asylum Seekers, who comments: "The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland values the relationship we have built with Bohemian FC over the years. It is encouraging to see the club forge relations with asylum seekers who regularly attend matches and the team opening the stadium for us to use for events. We wish to congratulate Bohs on the launch and look forward to more collaboration. We thank the whole Phibsborough community for the continuous support.”
Bohs, whose 2020 Airtricity League campaign kicks-off on Saturday with a home game against arch-rivals Shamrock Rovers, has a recent history of activism, which includes supplying those in Direct Provision with free tickets and return transport to Dalymount.
Full launch at 11am
— Bohemian FC 🔴⚫ (@bfcdublin) February 12, 2020