Donegal Intercultural Platform rejects comments on Travellers from Peter Casey

Group says comments damaged relations between Travellers and the majority population

Peter Casey

Presidential candidate Peter Casey

The Donegal Intercultural Platform says it rejects what it describes as “the repeated negative anti-Traveller and anti-Welfare recipient statements, mainly from Peter Casey” during the presidential election campaign.
The group also condemned the national media for giving “air-time and credence” to the views.
Mr Casey, who is based in Donegal and came runner-up in the presidential election, was widely condemned for comments he made after he said Travellers are people camping on someone else’s land.
The businessman also claimed Travellers should not be recognised as an ethnic minority.
He denied on The Late Late Show at the weekend that he was victimising anyone.
"I'm all about inclusion. We need more inclusion,” he said.
"Marginalising a community is wrong. You don't create inclusion by marginalising a community.
"It's a stupid government that recognised (Travellers as an ethnic minority) and a weak government that did that. It's just wrong.”
A statement issued by the committee of the Donegal Intercultural Platform said “there is no place in our society for hate speech and scapegoating of groups of people on the basis of their ethnicity, ability, income or employment status”.
“As an intercultural platform we work tirelessly for unity of all the people living here, for respect and recognition of our variety and diversity. We do not fear difference, rather we celebrate it because it enriches everyone’s life and experience.”
Referring to comments by Mr Casey that he wanted members of the community to move into the Phoenix Park in Dublin if he had won the presidential election, the statement from Billy Banda and Paul Kernan, Co-Chairpersons of Donegal Intercultural Platform, said:
“We say an injury to one is an injury to all and we recognise the great wrong that has been done to the Traveller community by the belittling of their hard-won recognition as a distinct part of Irish society. We condemn suggestions that there should be a re-education concentration camp for Travellers in the Phoenix Park.
“Donegal is becoming a much more multicultural place, with many staff employed in local shops, care facilities, hospitals and larger companies from every corner of the world and our energy focuses on building links and bridges between communities, nurturing respect and developing understanding.
“The Donegal Intercultural Platform has been supported and accommodated by the voluntary commitment of Donegal Travellers Project and members of the Traveller community across the county. The Traveller organisation delivers intercultural training along with Platform members across the county promoting diversity and respect in the community and the workplace for all Black and Minority Ethnic communities.
“The Donegal Intercultural Platform rejects all statements and comments made by Peter Casey and on social media that hurt and damage the building of positive relations between Travellers and the majority population.
“The Intercultural Platform believes that organisations across the county must now take a stand to support an ethnic minority – the Traveller Community – and to help heal the hurt caused.
“Lets build relationships and understanding – not walls and division, lets build peace and reconciliation not a climate of suspicion and hate.”

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