Pavee Point Statement in relation to Tweets by Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee

“Any politician who harbours these type of ingrained prejudices and discriminatory attitudes should not be in public office,” said Martin Collins, Co Director, Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre today in relation to Tweets by Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee.

“It is as a result of these attitudes that Travellers continue to experience inequalities and exclusion.”

“All the main parties have signed up to an Electoral Anti-Racism Protocol and these statements clearly go against this protocol,” he said.

“Recent elections have resulted in a rise in racist discourse. We also see a rise in racist violence, harassment and abuse and online hate speech,” he said.

“Political parties need to make sure their candidates are aware of this protocol, the importance of anti-racism and independent candidates also need to sign up,” he said.

“We cannot be complacent about racism in Ireland and we need a new National Action Plan Against Racism to actively challenge racism and promote diversity.”

In signing up to this protocol, politicians promise to conduct debate in a responsible way that does not target marginalised and vulnerable groups. Politicians also promise to use election materials that reflect the diversity of our society.

The protocol was first introduced as part of Ireland’s National Plan Against Racism 2004-2008 and has been re-established by ENAR Ireland which is a network of anti-racism civil society organisations.

The Irish Government will be examined next month in Geneva on the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which it ratified in 2000.