A Manchester club has been met with criticism for hiring a dwarf actor to dress as a leprechaun for St Patrick’s Day.
Plans to feature a dwarf actor playing the role of a leprechaun at Cargo for its St Patrick’s Day party have now been scrapped following a backlash. The Printworks, home to Cargo, also stepped in to ensure the leprechaun element was pulled from the party which is being held today, Friday March 17th.
Students on a WhatsApp mailing list set up by the party’s promoter DNA Events Manchester were sent a message earlier this week with details of the event, which 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 flyer for the event called ‘Rumour Paddy’s Day Special’, also featured a cartoon rendering of a leprechaun above a model wearing an ‘Irish hat’.
One Salford University student who received the message — who is from Ireland and did not wish to be named — told the Manchester Evening News: “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.
“Obviously 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.”
Manchester Councillor Pat Karney told the Manchester Evening News: “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 about the previous plans for the event, Jason Shay, centre director at Printworks, said: “We were just as shocked as everyone else when we heard about the meet and greet element of this event, which is being delivered by a third party events promoter at one of our tenants.
“We have worked quickly, alongside our tenant, to ensure that it was pulled immediately. We strongly felt it went against our values of being inclusive and doing things the right way.”
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.”
In a further statement to the Manchester Evening News, actor and performer Gregory Doherty — who has appeared in the Harry Potter movies as well as Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes series — was originally booked to play the leprechaun for the event. He said: “As you can imagine with a name like Doherty I am of Irish descent.
“Both my parents are Irish and I carry an Irish passport. I am incredibly proud to be of Irish heritage. I do not consider dressing up as a mythical creature offensive/or a racial slur against the people of Ireland.
“Not sure if you’ve ever travelled to Ireland on Saint Patrick’s Day, but the iconography of a leprechaun is as iconic as a shillelagh or a shamrock.
“I am sure these Irish cultural icons would not be considered ‘offensive’ or a slur against the Irish people. Of course, I cannot speak for all of the Irish living in Manchester, but I suspect you are listening to a vocal minority.
“The problem with cultural icons like George and the Dragon [or] wearing Viking helmets [or] dressing up in a kilt on feast days and holidays – it’s not really the iconography of the image, it’s the people wearing them. It’s the association with drunk and disorderly behaviour. That is what people are offended by.”
First ever permanent pug cafe to open in Greater Manchester
If you’re a fan of pugs, you’re going to love this!
A brand new cafe full of adorable and playful pugs is set to open in Greater Manchester.
You could go for a coffee and cake while 10 cute pugs cuddle, play and come for treats from your hands at this brand new cafe concept opening on Chapel Street in Salford.
Already a huge hit in London, with visitors from near and far, Cuppapug will be opening its first café in the North West – and its second venue – with a soft launch on Friday March 1st.
Pug lovers can book in at the cafe for an hour of crazy or chilled pug time, suitable for all the family to enjoy.
Cuppapug is a cafe concept created by couple – and owners of seven pugs – Aaron Carty and Matthew Pieterse, who opened the doors to their first venue in London in 2022.
Fully opening to the public on March 21st, visitors to Cuppapug can expect the adorable, furry four-legged friends running around the cafe, playing in ball pits and eating carrots and treats from your hands.
The menu will feature a host of doggy-themed drinks and cakes as well as treats for the doggos such as puppuccinos.
In case you’re wondering where the pugs go at the end of the day, each one belongs to local owners who drop their loveable fur baby off at the cafe for a day of mischief and fun.
Also in the CuppaPug family are Gaston, Bruce, Bowser, Beau, Gizmo, Bebe, and Baloo – Aaron and Matt’s pugs who’ve been staying with them at The Kimpton Clocktower as they prep the site for opening.
Speaking to Proper Manchester about the new opening, Aaron said: “We chose Manchester because we discovered it is a city full of dog lovers who love pugs.
“We get so many people visiting our London cafe from the North, we’ve even people catching flights from Hawaii, so it seemed like the right place to open our next Cuppapug.”
On why he and Matt love pugs so much, Aaron said: “I think of pugs being a lot like myself and I also love an underdog – and pugs are an underdog of the dog world.
“People think they are unfit, unhealthy and have breathing issues but that’s not true. We actually train our pugs to enjoy carrots, walk a lot, and our pet pugs enjoy a steak night every week – even I don’t get that!”
The Salford Cuppapug will also be partnering with Manchester Pug Thing, who rescue and rehome pugs, with £1 from every ticket going towards the pug rescue charity.
Aaron added: “We’ve had such overwhelming support and positive messages about our Manchester opening, it’s been absolutely amazing.
“It’s already a nerve-wrecking experience deciding to open a second venue but we’re really happy to have chosen to do it in Manchester and we’re really happy Manchester has chosen us. We’ve had so many drivers going past and beeping us and people asking ‘is this the pug place?’
“We’re having a launch party on March 21st and are really excited to open.”
CuppaPug officially opens to the public on March 21st 6-10pm, following a soft launch this Friday (March 1st). You can find the cafe and pugs on Chapel Street, Salford – it’s bright pink, you can’t miss it!
Primary school in Greater Manchester evacuated after nearby ‘gas explosion’
A primary school in Greater Manchester has been evacuated after a ‘gas explosion’ at a nearby house.
The incident happened earlier today (February 28th) near to St Luke’s primary school in Bury.
Councillor Tamoor Tariq said everyone who lived nearby has also been taken to a place of safety after the blast, which happened in the Fishpool area.
At around 12pm, he posted on Facebook: “Heartbreaking to share there has been a gas explosion in the last few minutes right across from my house.
“I understand everyone has been taken into a place of safety and emergency services are doing all possible to deal with this awful situation.
“St Luke’s primary have also evacuated children, as they are just yards away. I remain out of the country due to a family member being critical, but I am keeping in touch with all relevant people/authorities.”
In a further comment, Mr Tamoor added: “An elderly neighbour has been taken into hospital, all others affected are in a safe and secure place of their choosing. Praying our neighbour will be ok and get the treatment she needs.”
A Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said ‘multiple crews’ had been dispatched to the scene.
They added: “Residents in the area are advised to keep windows and doors closed and avoid the scene while crews carry out their work.”
A woman in her 70s has been taken to hospital with ‘serious injuries’, Greater Manchester Police said.
Issuing a statement on social media, GMP said: “Emergency services are currently responding to a report of an explosion at a property on Nelson Street in the Fishpool area of Bury.
“At this stage, a woman in her 70s has been taken to hospital with serious injuries. A 200 metre cordon is in place around the property and neighbouring homes.
“Local residents and the community will be made aware if they need to take any further action.”
Iceland announces it’s discounting baby formula to cut price of £7.95
Iceland CEO Richard Walker says says ‘businesses need to step up and do more’
Iceland has launched reduced cost baby formula in a bid to do more to help families through the cost of living crisis.
Iceland CEO Richard Walker is determined to bring down the cost of baby formula, and says ‘businesses need to step up and do more’.
The businessman has made it his mission after hearing heartbreaking tales from parents who have been struggling to feed their families amid spiralling costs.
Mr Walker, a dad-of-two, told Metro: “We’ve heard terrible stories of customers watering down feeds, skipping feeds or ignoring sell by dates, all of which is really bad for the baby. That prompted us to take action.”
Iceland slashed prices earlier this year, revealing three of its Aptamil formula milk products would sell at £11.20 – a move which led other supermarkets including Asda and Tesco to reduce their own prices.
Now, Iceland has confirmed it is selling 800g of SMA’s Little Steps formula milk for £7.95 across its stores and online from Tuesday February 27th – £1.80 cheaper than its rivals.
Mr Walker insisted it’s not just a clever business move either, as he continued: “The price is a mind-blowing £7.95 which makes it the cheapest infant formula milk on the market. I think it will really really help our customers.
“We’re not making any profit out of this now. We’re passing on the savings which we’re managing to persuade the manufacturer to give straight on to our customers.”
The baby formula industry is currently under investigation after prices rose by an average of 25% in the past two years.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said it is looking into whether companies have been exploiting parents for profit.
Iceland’s launch of lower priced baby formula has also gained the support of Mumsnet.
The eight-million strong parenting group have announced they are joining forces with Formula For Change – Metro’s campaign to lower baby formula prices.
Mr Walker has also signed the petition and is calling on parents to sign it and help push it over the line.
Politicians may soon be forced to address the scandal as the Formula for Change petition is almost at the 100,000 signatures mark – the crucial threshold needed for a parliamentary debate on the issue.
Mr Walker also told the publication: “Formula for Change is absolutely fantastic. The Prime Minister has said he is ‘sad’ families are watering down formula to try and make it last longer, but again these are just words.”