News & Media

Galway is a diverse city - Grealish comments demean us

13 November 2019

Statement by Cllr Níall McNelis
Spokesperson on Tourism

Labour Party General Election candidate for Galway West, Niall McNelis has expressed his concern about the comments of Deputy Noel Grealish in the Dáil.

Councillor McNelis said:

“Noel Grealish is right to ask the government whether cash transfers abroad are checked for criminal activity. However after his disgraceful comments about Africans coming "to sponge off the system here in Ireland, however it is an unedifying surprise that Deputy Grealish seems to be trying to retrospectively justify his prejudiced comments.

“For a Deputy who claims to serve Galway West, but reportedly attends votes on 45% of the days he clocks into the Dáil, I'm delighted he's decided to say something that attracts attention while he's in attendance.

“This is not the attention the people of Galway West want. Galway is the most diverse city in Ireland - we are a welcoming place and this type of commentary from Deputy Grealish demeans us.

“My fear is that his questions in the Dáil will be used to feed into the toxic discourse racists in Ireland desire. Deputy Grealish has not apologised for or clarified his earlier comments, and I call on him to now to look online and see how the few Far-Right trolls in this country are heralding Noel Grealish as a hero.  These are people whose agenda is hatred and whipping up fear of non-nationals.

“Deputy Grealish seems to be discounting the facts, Galway is so diverse - over 27% of the population of our city are born outside of Ireland, the second most spoken language is Polish. It is a real City of Tribes.”