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Labour Party leader says 'new toxic racism' has entered Irish politics

Howlin made the comments during a speech at the party’s annual conference in Mullingar.

Howlin spoke to party delegates at the party's annual conference last night.
Howlin spoke to party delegates at the party's annual conference last night.
Image: Leah Farrell

LABOUR PARTY LEADER Brendan Howlin said a “new toxic racism” has entered Irish politics. 

Howlin made the comments during a speech at the party’s annual conference in Mullingar, Co Westmeath last night. 

“Let’s call it what it is from protests against asylum seekers through to a presidential candidate making disparaging comments about travellers, long-standing taboos have been broken,” he said. 

“We’ve seen it happen elsewhere but it doesn’t have to happen here. Labour will stand for equality and against the hate speech that is poisoning society. 

“Leadership is needed on this issue but the Taoiseach has sent mixed messages at best. One in eight people living in Ireland today was born in another country. They are now part of Irish society. 

“One in seven of our young people has one or both parents from another country,” he added. “These are our children, our people our equals.”

Howlin outlined his party’s stance on a number of issues – essentially an election manifesto. 

He said the party would stop the retirement age increasing to 67 in 2021 and ban all political advertising on social media during election campaigns. 

With an election looming in May next year, he said he would not go into a coalition, or minority government, with any party that would not negotiate and agree with their core demands. 

“Labour will not support any party to form a government, including from the opposition benches, unless they agree to implement our core policies,” he said. 

“We will negotiate our full manifesto based on strength in the next Dáil but we will not negotiate our core demands.”

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