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03rd Jun 2022

WATCH: BBC’s jubilee coverage faces Irish backlash after repeated use of term “micks”

Stephen Porzio

BBC micks

A former British Army Officer defended the use of the term

The BBC’s coverage of the jubilee celebrations has been met with backlash in some quarters after repeated use of the term ‘micks’.

The interaction occurred during the Trooping the Colour ceremony to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the British throne, with the celebrations being led by the Irish Guards.

The Irish Guards is one of the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army and recruits from the island of Ireland, as well as the United Kingdom and beyond. The regiment is often referred to as ‘The Fighting Micks’.

During the ceremony, former Irish Guards officer Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton described the scenes on the BBC as a “great mick cocktail”.

“The Micks have this fantastic mix of guards, discipline and pursuit of excellence with that Irish irrational tenth, if I can quote Lawrence of Arabia,” he added.

It was at this point, BBC presenter Huw Edwards added: “I should as well explain, you said a few minutes ago, Jamie, that the Irish Guards were affectionately known as ‘The Micks’.

“Some people watching might think: ‘Well, that’s not an altogether nice term’ but it’s worth underlining that it’s what you Irish Guards call yourselves.”

Lowther-Pinkerton then said: “It’s what we call ourselves and actually it’s been our nickname for so long that any connotations that may or may not have been have worn off.”

The British Army’s website states that the Irish Guards are known “affectionately throughout the army as ‘The Micks’”; indeed, the moniker was referenced recently when it was revealed that a number of members of the regiment were arrested for alleged dealing of cocaine and involvement in a loan sharking operation.

However, the throwaway use of the term and the exchange over who seemingly can or can not take offence to its use prompted a backlash on social media.

Joe Dwyer, a London-based activist for Sinn Féin, shared a clip of the interaction and wrote:

“The year is 2022… and a BBC presenter and someone from the British Army are explaining why “micks” actually isn’t an offensive term for Irish people…”

You can see a number of other reactions to the clip below.

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