- 31 Oct 03
Patrick Bergin's new single 'The Knacker' has caused offense to the Irish Travelers Movement
The Irish Travelers Movement has condemned the new Patrick Bergin single, 'The Knacker', claiming that it's "the equivalent of calling a song 'The Paki' or 'The Nigger'."
Comments David Joyce, a Legal Policy Worker with the Movement: "I'm not accusing Patrick Bergin of being a raving fascist – indeed, I believe him when he says he's trying to reclaim the term – but the record is totally insensitive. While not about the travelling community per se, the fact of the matter is that the word 'knacker' is commonly used as a derogatory term about travelers which he must have been aware of when putting together the lyrics.
"His intention may have been 'to address the issue' but, unfortunately, he doesn't do that in the song and it becomes a chant that's going to be sung outside discos or, even worse, in the playground against travelers."
Released this week by Solid Records, the lyrics include such couplets as: "I boil down dead horses and I turn them into glue/If you give me any trouble I'll do the same to you/If you see a thing is moving you know it isn't dead/The quickest way to kill a horse is with a bullet in the head/ I'm a knacker, I'm a knacker, I'm a sweet smelling dirty knacker."
Responding to David Joyce's charges, Bergin, who's famous for his starring roles in Sleeping With The Enemy and Patriot Games, proffers: "He's entitled to his opinion, but I was talking to another woman from the travelling community on the radio and we came to an understanding and she accepted that it was not intended that way, and proceeds will go to benefit travelling communities."
So he doesn't think 'The Knacker' will incite any kind of hatred or racism?
"No, I don't," Bergin insists, "I really don't. There's no way that I would excuse racism. It's certainly not intended that way. The intention is the opposite – that is to be able to take the word away from the racists rather than encourage it to be used in a racist way."