Cllr McGeough Stands Against Racism

Sinn Fein Councillor has welcomed the passing of his motion at last month’s County Council meeting on racism.

In a reply to the Councillor’s motion, the Council told him that there was an imminent launch of a new Louth Meath Migrant Strategy 2019-22 which would hopefully address some of Cllr McGeough’s concerns about the rise of racism in the county particularly in the form of graffiti.

Cllr McGeough said “Thank you for the response and I look forward to the launch of the new Louth Meath Migrant Integration Strategy 2019-22 due later this month. I just hope it is strong enough to deal with the ignorance of a small number of people in this county.

“Since May this year there have been 4 incidents of racist graffiti in Ardee and in July the Gardaí said they was an indication of ‘extreme right-wing groups or persons resident in the locality’ and they have stepped up patrols in the area.

“I myself was targeted by these ring-wing groups and faced a campaign of online abuse by supporters of this right wing extremist Party including a video naming me by their so-called party leader. It wasn’t nice.

After the second graffiti incident which took place on a privately owned fence I took a paintbrush myself and went out and painted over it because I didn’t want the home owners to put themselves at risk after what happened to me.

“The latest incident took place just over a week ago and again, it fell to the decent people of Ardee to scrub it off including 2 young lads from Direct Provision emergency accommodation. They are a credit to the community in Ardee.

“Racism needs to be challenged at every level and it needs to be stamped out before it gets a hold. That lack of education can be challenged by diversity programmes/work-shops that will promote awareness of the problem and equip people with the tools to deal with it or address it as it happens.

“The Irish people are a good people, what we are talking about here is a small minority but they are like a cancer, if it isn’t dealt with it will spread.

“There is an excellent project on facebook at the minute called ‘Black and Irish’ which highlights and celebrates the identity of Black Irish people and seeks to tell people of their experiences, struggles and successes. Some of their stories are heart breaking and very upsetting to hear, the level of racism they have had to put up with.

“Our hate crime legislation needs to be strengthened. We need to send a strong message to the country that we have a zero tolerance for racism and those who carry out a hate crime will be dealt with and punished accordingly. This Council needs to send a strong message to our legislators from all Parties that our current hate crime laws are too weak and need to be rectified as soon as possible before it’s too late and the issue is out of control. We need to be pro-active instead of re-active on issues that we can see coming down the road.”

At this week’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee, Cllr McGeough again raised the issue with teh Gardaí seeking an update. They assured him that it was on their radar but so far there had been no arrests although they were aware of the rise in the issue and had stepped up patrols in the area.

 

Adams: Injustice and Racism and anti-Semitism or Islamophobia must be challenged

Speaking in the Dáil this evening Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams TD expressed his sympathies “to all the victims and the families of last week’s dreadful attacks in Paris” and he expressed “solidarity to the people of Paris and of France our solidarity at this very difficult time.”

Gerry Adams said:

“Ba mhaith liom mo chombhrón a dhéanamh le clanna na ndaoine a maraíodh i bPáras an tseachtain seo caite.

Chuir sé déistin orm nuair a chonaic mé na himeachtaí ar an teilifís.

Caithfidh muid uilig seasamh go láidir in aghaidh na hionsaí seo.

On behalf of Sinn Féin I want to extend my sincerest sympathies to all the victims and the families of last week’s dreadful attacks in Paris.

I also want to extend to the people of Paris and of France our solidarity at this very difficult time. 

France and Ireland enjoy good relationships not least in our revolutionary history and the values which we share.

And Irish people, like people around the world watched in shock and revulsion as the brutal events in Paris unfolded.

Families were robbed of loved ones, sons, daughters, spouses, colleagues, workmates, parents, siblings and this weekend saw millions of ordinary people in Paris and France, and of countless others around the world, including here in Ireland, making a courageous stand against fundamentalism.

They were also making a stand against those whether from the extreme right or left, whether they are fundamentalists, or bigots, or racists, or homophobes, who seek to impose by violence and intimidation their values on others.

But part of the tragedy of the modern world and of what happened in Paris is that many other barbaric acts are ignored by the international community and particularly by the western powers.

Ionsaí uafásach a bhí ann a chuaigh in aghaidh na saoirse.

Tá an tsaoirse tábhachtach do gach duine.

Ach tá go leor daoine, iriseoirí san áireamh, thart fán domhan nach bhfuil saoirse acu.

Caithfidh muid aird a thabhairt ar na rialtais seo a dhiúltaíonn saoirse chainte do dhaoine.

Sadly, the mass slaughter of perhaps two thousand men, women and children in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram attracted little mainstream media attention.

The car bomb attacks last week in Sanaa in Yemen which killed 35 people, or in Aleppo in Syria which killed 14, did not attract the same level of media coverage and international condemnation.

And while we think of the victims in Paris and Nigeria and Syria let us also remember the two thousand, mainly civilians, including over 500 children, and the 13 journalists who were killed during the Israeli assault on Gaza last summer.

The deaths of journalists, of cartoonists and satirists in Paris has provoked justifiable outrage which we share.

But so too must the deaths of 61 journalists who were killed on duty in Syria, Ukraine and Iraq.

There was also some understandable – and this probably says a lot about the spirit of the people of France – there was some understandable scepticism in France about some of the condemnations of the Paris attacks from governments whose own record in defence of freedom of the press, or the killing and imprisonment of journalists, or the use of political censorship leaves much to be desired.

And many French opinion makers drew attention to those leaders who could demonstrate their commitment to freedom of speech by opening the prison gates for the journalists they currently hold.

However, whatever the colour of our skin, or our religion, or our race, or our gender there can be no excuse for the actions that occurred in Paris or elsewhere in recent weeks.

Wherever injustice or oppression or racism or attacks take place on religious minorities or where anti-Semitism, or Islamophobia or sectarianism exists they must be confronted and they must be challenged.

So too must poverty, injustice, inequality, discrimination and racism.

It is our responsibility – and the Taoiseach did represent in Paris the people of this island –  to join with those citizens who courageously took to the streets in defiance of murder and threats, and to make a stand.

But it also means going beyond the rhetoric.

We do have a duty to understand what happened; to understand the differences which divide us.

And I note and commend the French President’s warning that last weeks horrific attacks must not be excuse for an attack on Islam or the rights of Muslim people.

So we need to be alert to the dangers of fundamentalism of all kinds.

That means actively working for and investing in processes of education, information, learning and dialogue that can overcome prejudice; inform and educate citizens and seek to resolve long standing conflicts based on democratic principles.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anam.