Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle is no stranger to controversy with his acerbic wit and his liking for extending the bounds of taste with his jokes.
He’s also a firm opponent of Brexit – the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
It’s now two years since the bitter referendum campaign in 2016 and the country remain as divided as ever on the issue.
Ireland is dragged into the controversy because although everyone agrees that there should be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, no one has yet found a way to make that work.
As the arguments rage, many people in Britain fear that Brexit will leave the country worse off, with thousands losing their jobs. There is already a rising number of Britons having to use charity food banks and there are fears the number could rise after Brexit.
This is where Frankie Boyle comes in with his unique take on events. He tweeted: “Brexit has many downsides but I think it will be nice for the Irish to watch a British famine.”
Brexit has many downsides but I think it will be nice for the Irish to watch a British famine
— Frankie Boyle (@frankieboyle) 15 October 2018
The joke went down well with most of Boyle’s 2.6 million followers but not all were impressed, including many from Ireland. Others pointed out that many of the Brits who will be affected by Brexit are descended from Irish people who fled the famine to come to England. Many of these ‘Brits’ remain proud of their Irish roots and heritage, and can trace their family tree back to the 19th century.
What would it say about us if we found that “nice”?? I’d like to think most of us would be happy to share our “spuds” with our British friends if such a horrible and thankfully unlikely, catastrophe ever were to occur
— caleb murphy (@Calebcork) 15 October 2018
Can we export their grain at gunpoint?
— Declan McDermott (@BohsDeco) 15 October 2018
Many British people’s ancestors experienced that famine from the Irish side and had to leave Ireland and move to Britain. It was our famine too.
— Laroceht (@laroceht) 15 October 2018
No dogs, No English
— Peter O’Neill (@peter_oneill1) 15 October 2018
The famine wasn’t a “catastrophe,” there was enough food on this island to feed the people, but the British administration shipped it over to England. It was a genocide orchestrated by British administrative bodies, not some natural disaster. We could’ve survived blight.
— Maia Purdue (@MaiaPurdue) 15 October 2018
The Irish people are better than that Frankie
— Mary Roberts 💐📖🇪🇺 (@maryameliarobbo) 15 October 2018
Don’t forget the British working classes weren’t exactly having a party back then!
— edward dunn (@edunnart) 15 October 2018
They can have soup. We’ll give them soup – but only if they put an “Ó” or a “Mc” into their names
— Peter Murnane (@Murnane87) 15 October 2018
I appreciate you make your living by making tasteless jokes but as an Irish woman living in Britain I don’t find this at all funny. That kind of ‘schadenfreude’ is not in our make-up. We would prefer our British friends to see the error of their ways before it comes to famine!
— Audrey Lillywhite ☘️ (@audrymaeve) 15 October 2018
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling