[Sinn Fein]

13 December 2000

McDonald's must make statement on `under-the-counter racism'

Sinn Fein has called on owners of the McDonald's fast-food chain to make a public statement on reports that black workers are barred from serving at cash registers in a Cork City McDonald's outlet because of their colour.

Sinn Fein has also called on the Equality Commission to investigate the reports under anti-racist and fair employment legislation.

The manager of Cork City's Winthrop Street McDonald's told a daily newspaper that he employs Lithuanians on customer service tills while black people are restricted to other duties.

Sinn Fein South Dublin County Councillor Seán Crowe has called for ``a clear statement from McDonald's refuting this racist practice''.  He said:

``This is under-the-counter racism.  It should not be tolerated anywhere in Ireland.  It fuels fear and suspicion when employers and the authorities should be promoting understanding and appreciation of people from other cultures and other countries.

``McDonald's management should clarify their employment practices throughout their franchise operation and make it clear that they will not tolerate apartheid in the workplace - or anywhere else.''

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