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Darren Scully race remarks 'an opportunity for education', says African community leader

Africa Centre head Eric Yao said he accepted an apology issued by the former Naas mayor

A 2005 election poster for former Naas mayor Darren Scully
A 2005 election poster for former Naas mayor Darren Scully
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

A LEADING MEMBER of Ireland’s African community has said it is “about time to move on” from remarks on race by former Naas mayor Darren Scully.

Eric Yao, the head of the Africa Centre, said he was a “strong believer in forgiveness, and people make mistakes”. However, he added that he hoped the incident would be an opportunity for “some level of education”.

Scully sparked a furore earlier this week when he emailed radio station Classic Hits 4FM to say he would no longer represent “immigrants from African countries” in Naas, saying: “The majority of them I found to be very demanding and very quick to play the race card.” He then appeared on the radio reiterating his comments.

Scully later resigned and issued an apology, saying: “I realise now that my remarks were open to an interpretation that I did not intend.”

Speaking on the Late Show with Niall Boylan on Classic Hits 4FM last night, Yao said he had been “gobsmacked” by Scully’s comments. “I didn’t expect that it would come from someone at the level of a mayor,” he said. “It just stunned everybody.”

Hwever, Yao said he accepted Scully’s apology. “It’s an issue that has been dealt with, he’s apologised and acknowledged that he has caused offence,” Yao said.

I can understand the pressure he may be under as a local authority, as a councillor. But if he’s under pressure and people are being rude to him, it’s wrong to generalise it. The problem has been the fact that he has painted everybody with the same brush.

Read more: Darren Scully resigns as Mayor of Naas>

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