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17th Mar 2023

UK student club provokes outrage after hiring dwarf to dress as ‘leprechaun’ for St Patrick’s Day party

Jack Peat


By Jack Peat

“This is truly pathetic and an insult to every Irish person.”

A student club in Manchester has provoked outrage after it hired a dwarf actor to dress as a leprechaun for its St Patrick’s Day party.

Cargo club, in the popular Printworks location, was forced to pull its plans to have a ‘leprechaun meet and greet’ element of a party on Friday night after flyers promoting the event received a huge backlash.

Students on a WhatsApp mailing list set up by the party’s promoter, DNA Events Manchester, were sent a message earlier in the week with details of the event.

The message read: “This Friday we are hosting Manchester’s biggest Paddy’s Day event at Cargo. There’s a huge club dressing, plenty of Irish hats and handouts and we’ve got our own dwarf leprechaun that will be going round the venue taking pictures all night.”

The poster for the event, which is titled the ‘Rumour Paddy’s Day Special’, also featured a cartoon rendering of a leprechaun alongside a model.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening Newsone Irish student living in the city who received the message said:

“Obviously this is highly offensive. I’ve suffered high levels of racism, which doesn’t seem to be held in the same regard as other kinds of racism in the UK. And this stereotypical leprechaun business is just ridiculous.

“It’s been much discussed among university students who are Irish, and I know I’ve received several messages from people saying: ‘Oh my god, have you seen this? It’s horrible.’ People saying: ‘I cannot believe that’s real’.

“I was shocked but not surprised when I saw it. This kind of causal racism toward Irish people in the community is nothing new, particularly around this time of year.

“From my experience as an Irish person living in Manchester, I have suffered regular mocking of the accent and culture of where I am from and this sort of attitude has really impacted my experience living in the UK.

“There appears to be an expectation as an Irish person that we will laugh it off or tolerate treatment that would not be accepted by other ethnic groups which is really concerning in this day and age.”

Meanwhile, Manchester councillor Pat Karney told the outlet: “I thought we had left this Irish stereotyping behind us years ago. This is truly pathetic and an insult to every Irish person. I hope they withdraw this insulting nonsense.”

In a statement, DNA Events said: “We’re aware that there has been some negative press in regards to one of our DNA events being promoted as part of our Big St Patrick’s Day Weekender activity, specifically in relation to our engagement with a dwarf entertainer as part of our Rumour Friday Special event.

“DNA have worked with Greg from the Minimen agency for over a decade, alongside hundreds of other entertainers from all backgrounds and disciplines to provide the highest calibre of entertainment and showmanship. We’re proud to work with a wide diversity of performers and we have the utmost respect for Greg and his profession.

“That being said, we also understand the importance of listening to our customers and making sure that the entertainment we do provide is done with sensitivity towards the issues of race and culture, alongside those of inclusivity and diversity.

“As such, we have taken the decision to cancel this element of the show while we consult with all of our entertainers, agencies and performers to ensure that we are promoting these important values which form the backbone of our business.”