Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams TD has written to Taoiseach and Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny about a leaflet from a Fine Gael Councillor, which he says has raised serious concerns about anti-traveller racism.
In a leaflet distributed in South Dublin, Fine Gael Councillor Emer Higgins, praised a decision by South Dublin County Council to abandon a proposal to purchase ten purpose-built houses in Ballynakelly for the Traveller Accommodate Scheme.
In his letter to Enda Kenny, the Sinn Fein Leader says that Councillor Higgins’ ‘delight’ in announcing that the Council will no longer purchase the houses and her claim that this is a ‘victory for the community’ has caused widespread anger and raised the question that it is an encouragement to hate crime.
Gerry Adams said:
Councillor Emer Higgins’ “argument that ‘anti-social behaviour is already an issue in certain parts of the estate’ is a rationale for not proceeding with this scheme is clearly making a connection between the Travelling Community and anti-social crime. This is disgraceful.
“This leaflet is a far cry from the Programme for Government commitment to equality and specifically the promotion of and ‘greater co-ordination and integration of delivery of services to the Traveller community across Government, using available resources more effectively to deliver on principles of social inclusion, particularly in the area of Traveller education.’
“It is also at odds with the Government’s commitment to ‘promote policies which integrate minority ethnic groups in Ireland, and which promote social inclusion, equality, diversity and the participation of immigrants in the economic, social, political and cultural life of their communities.’”
Adams has also said that the Higgins leaflet is the antithesis of social inclusion, equality and tolerance of diversity and has urged Enda Kenny, as Fine Gael Leader to ensure that it is immediately withdrawn and that Councillor Higgins apologises to the Travelling Community for the hurt she has caused.