Some calling for a ban
Right-wing Northern Irish politicians are mad at a Mafia III mission where the protagonist does a job for the benefit of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). According to The Irish News, it “has been branded ‘sick’ by outraged unionists and has prompted calls for it to be pulled from shelves.”
In “The IRA Don’t Ask,” Lincoln Clay steals cars for a Irish underboss Thomas Burke. The cars are destined for use as car bombs meant to “keep the Belfast law guessing.” The game also includes a Northern Ireland flag defaced with the word “traitor.”
Northern Ireland separated itself from the larger Republic of Ireland almost 100 years ago to stay as part of the United Kingdom, mostly because of Protestants in the region feeling more national identity with Britain than with the rest of Ireland (the Republic of Ireland is like 85% Catholic). Still, Northern Ireland is loosely made up of Catholic Nationalists who want to join the rest of Ireland, and majority Protestant Unionists — like the politicians up in arms about a video game — who want to remain part of the United Kingdom, and have been successful thus far in doing so.
MP Jeffrey Donaldson of the right-wing Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which was called the Protestant Unionist Party at the time of Mafia III, was “very concerned” about the effect a mission in a video game could have on “impressionable” young minds.
“The IRA were a terrorist organisation that murdered very many innocent men, women and children in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK,” Donaldson said. “Whilst this game may seem to be a work of fiction for some, it could be seen as trivialising the suffering of innocent victims and the evil that is represented by all forms of terrorism.”
Jim Allister, who leads an equally conservative DUP offshoot party called Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV), says entertainment has a “duty to avoid glorifying violence” and calls using a real-life group “insensitive,” even though Mafia III trades on some historical accuracy, dealing with the result of the Vietnam War, the KKK, et al. “This may be viewed as another clever way of earning money by some but it is most insensitive to victims,” Allister said, somehow construing an IRA name check as a guaranteed money-maker.
The center-right Ulster Unionist Party, which governed Northern Ireland from 1921 to 1971 — so while Mafia III takes place — also got in on it, with Belfast UUP councillor Jim Rodgers saying he’d be contacting Mafia III‘s creators. “We went through 40 years of violence in which many lives were lost and people maimed. I knew there would eventually be some who would seek to exploit that to make money,” he said, also confusing the presence of an IRA mission in Mafia III with the main draw to the open-world action crime drama.