As said earlier, 'Irish' isn't a race. Singling 'them' out to be so is actually inadvertent 'racism' in my book.
When I say racism, I actually mean xenophobia. As should you
I'v always been puzzled by the bizarre semantic argument that goes on whenever the word racism crops up. I'm not sure the meaning of the word 'racism' is necessarily to be interpreted by a wholly strict definition of the word 'race'. As with all language, it is very rarely a case of look it up in the OED and that is what it means, nothing more, nothing less. More importantly the discussion then changes as to whether or not a comment is 'racist' as opposed to 'xenophobic' instead of whether or not it is 'legit'. FWIW, I think the word 'race' can actually be used to describe a group of people who each share an 'identity' such as a nationality. For instance, 'the characteristics of the French race' is not a phrase which seems inherently wrong.
In this debate the meaning of the word xenophobic has actually become forgotten. It means a fear or dislike of foreigners, not a fear or dislike of a certain group of foreigners. Were you to hate somebody because they weren't English, or British, that would be xenophobic, if you were to hate somebody because they specifically were of a certain race, that would be racism. So comments made against 'the Irish' are certainly closer to 'racist' than 'xenophobic' if indeed they are either. That, IMO depends on the intent. Here I'm not so sure. Why can't we all be friends