Like many Irish people I am outraged by the death in police custody of George Floyd and by the responses of his country’s leadership.

Yesterday’s minutes silence in Dáil Éireann was a good gesture of our national solidarity with his family, community, African Americans, and people everywhere experiencing racism.

It also needs to reflect a reinforced commitment to acknowledging and addressing racism in all its forms here in Ireland.

The new Strategy against Racism announced at the UN Review of Ireland’s record last December and the upcoming Programme for Government provide immediate opportunities to do this including for Travellers and Roma. The differentials for marginalised and minority groups further exposed by COVID-19 add urgency. 

The many, mostly young people, who publicly expressed their solidarity with African American communities earlier this week show commitment and demand for rights here as well as there.

The time for national leadership and inclusive engagement is now.

By Anastasia Crickley

Chairperson Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre and

Former chairperson UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination