[Sinn Fein]

9th September 2002

Racist jokes never okay - Ó Snodaigh

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Justice, Equality, and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has criticised suggestions by Fine Gael sources in today's Irish Times that Enda Kenny's racist joke was primarily unacceptable because it was made in public and not ``among friends''. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``To suggest that racism or any kind of discrimination is acceptable if it takes place behind closed doors is a dangerous fallacy. There is an onus on all Irish people in public and private life to genuinely challenge assumptions and learned behaviour, to change these where necessary, and to seek to constructively challenge others on these issues. We need to move to zero tolerance when it comes to racism and discrimination. To dismiss and diminish legitimate objections as mere `political correctness' is in itself highly offensive and is particularly insensitive to those in our community who are targeted by discrimination.

``I welcome Mr. Kenny's prompt public apology as appropriate and necessary. However this whole incident calls into question not only the Fine Gael leader's judgment, but also the sincerity of his commitment to the Anti-Racist Protocol for Political Parties, which his party, like ours, signed up to earlier this year. How can we have any confidence in his public pronouncements if they are inconsistent with his private behaviour? I urge Mr. Kenny to take further steps to restore confidence, and for all Fine Gael members to treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves. Racist jokes are never okay.''

Sinn Fein Press Office, 44 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Tel: +353-1-8726100 and +353-1-8726839   ·   Fax +353-1-8733074
E-mail: sinnfein@irlnet.com   ·   Website: http://www.sinnfein.org

Sinn Fein   ·   Sinn Fein Documents