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Marriage equality historic, but anti-Traveller racism casts a dark shadow on Irish society – Ó Clochartaigh

20 October, 2015

Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has given a warm welcome to the bill giving same-sex couples marriage equality while also calling for an end to institutional racism and the exclusion of travellers from Irish society.

Speaking during debate on the Marriage Bill 2015, Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:

“Today is a momentous occasion and brings an end to a two-tier system of marriage inequality.

 “It is hard to put into words the effects the bill this will have on the lives of thousands of people and their families.

“I have no doubt that in years to come the 23rd of May will be seen as one of Ireland's proudest moments.  

“The referendum result of 22 May 2015 changed lives forever and was the result of a long hard fought campaign by gay rights activists.

“I salute them and acknowledge their historic struggle.    

“As we acknowledge the importance of this historic legislation we should do so in the realization that the task of building a truly equal society is far from complete.

“As we speak, the Travelling Community is in mourning and burying its dead.

“This group, above all others, are subject to the most severe forms of institutional racism.

“They are also ‘fair game’ for large sections of society as they vent, what can only be described, as an acceptable and overt form of ‘everyday racism. ’ 

“As legislators and public representatives there is a duty on us to name this for what it is and to make serious efforts to eradicate it.

“We must end the economic, social and cultural exclusion of travellers.

“The recent tragic needless loss of life should be a stark reminder to us all that the work of building a truly equal society is far from complete.”  

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