News & Media

Racist attitudes in Ireland must be tackled

2 June 2020

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Health and Disability Services

Commenting on racial tensions continuing to unfold across the United States, Labour Party Leader, Alan Kelly TD, said the voices of black people in Ireland need to be listened to.

Deputy Kelly said:

“The scenes that have been unfolding in the United States over the weekend, particularly overnight are sobering and a reminder of the racial injustices that still continue to exist across the world.

“The actions of Donald Trump in the wake of the killing of George Floyd are deplorable. The eyes of the world are on America and for Trump has reached a new low.

“I believe that the Irish Government need to strongly condemn the actions of Trump. As a nation we need to firmly state that this treatment of black people is grotesque. It is not enough for the Taoiseach just to tweet about this.

“The Irish political system needs to take stock of the experiences of black people living here in Ireland. From the thousands of people who gathered in various locations across the country to protest the killing of George Floyd, we know that there are racist attitudes and institutions that need to be tackled in this country.

“We know that a toxic racism has entered Irish politics. Some protests against asylum seekers have been orchestrated by small groups of activists rather than local people. We now have genuinely far-right political parties and individuals spreading all kinds of lies and misinformation that is toxic, racist and totally unacceptable.

“We only need to look at the recent treatment of asylum seekers in our direct provision system during this Covid-19 crisis to realise that things need to change here in Ireland.

“The Irish political system does not need to take a prescriptive approach to how we challenge the racism that exists in Irish society but listen to black voices as to how we can challenge the racism that exists here.

“As public representatives, we have to show leadership on the issue of racism and the best way we can do that is by freezing out all politicians who seek to bring racism and racist lies into our politics.”