The 25-strong Ivory Coast community, who moved to Dungannon 30 years ago hoping to get work digging for lignite at Lough Neagh in a dig that never started, have admitted they are completely in the dark over a rise in goodwill gestures coupled with hate messages since last week.
Tanya Eboue, who has decked her bungalow from top to bottom in Ivorian flags for the World Cup, explained their confusion:
“It all kicked off when we put up the bunting for the World Cup. Within minutes there were a crowd of skin heads shouting ‘yiz fenian feckers’ and stuff like that. We tried to explain that we were just excited about our lads playing over in Brazil and they started laughing and said something about the ‘Mexican taigs down south’ being useless and not being in Brazil. We’re totally confused.”
Eboue, who runs a hairdressers in Killyman, added:
“Then the priest walked by us and shouted in ‘keep her lit’ and ‘chucky air la’ and was winking and pumping his fist. A Sinn Fein politican brought us cakes and mineral. We’re just a bit dazed by what’s going on. What has changed?”
Dungannon DUP politician, Ken Williams, has called for the Ivorian Prime Minister to step in and change the colours of their national flag as it was causing offence across Northern Ireland. In a heartfelt plea, he asked for common sense to prevail:
“Ivorians should know what that flag represents. It’s irresponsible for them to adopt those colours given what has happened here since 1561. There’s a rumour that the man who designed the flag, Kol Toure, married a girl from the mainly nationalist Carrickmore so there’s more to this than meets the eye.”
The Dungannon Ivorians have pledged to offer anyone offended with their national flag a gift of a copy of the Wolfe Tones’ Greatest Hits which has been No.1 in the Ivory Coast since 2001.