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10 candidates in Fingal by-election sign up to anti-racism pledge

Those who’ve signed up include Fianna Fáil’s Lorraine Clifford-Lee, who’s recently been embroiled in controversy over old tweets.

FF's Lorraine Clifford-Lee is one of the 10 signatories in Fingal to the pledge.
FF's Lorraine Clifford-Lee is one of the 10 signatories in Fingal to the pledge.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

TEN OF THE 12 candidates in the Dublin Fingal by-election have signed up to an anti-racism pledge ahead of next week’s polling day.

The initiative from the Irish Network Against Racism (INAR) commits candidates to conduct their election campaigns in a way that does not incite hatred or prejudice on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, religious belief and membership of the Traveller or Roma community.

The majority of candidates in Fingal have signed up to the pledge, including Fianna Fáil’s Lorraine Clifford-Lee who apologised last week after a number of tweets she had posted several years ago used the words “pikey”, “Traveller” and “knacker” in a derogatory manner.

The others who’ve signed up to the pledge are Ann Graves (SF), Cormac McKay (Ind), Dean Mulligan (Ind4Change), Duncan Smith (Lab), Glenn Brady (Ind), James Reilly (FG), Joe O’Brien (Green), Peadar O’Kelly (Ind) and Tracey Carey (Social Democrats).

The names not listed as signing up to the INAR pledge are Gemma O’Doherty and Charlie Keddy (both Ind).

Dr Lucy Michael, spokesperson for the Fingal Communities Against Racism, said it’s important to “keep reminding election candidates that we expect certain standards from our public representatives”. 

“Any candidate elected to represent the residents of Fingal will be representing diverse communities and diversity has always been a part of the experience of living here,” she said. 

The main issue making the headlines on the campaign trail in Fingal so far has been the tweets from Clifford-Lee.

She met with representatives of Traveller organisation Pavee Point last week. Co-director of the group Martin Collins said on RTÉ’s News at One that the Senator gave a “very sincere and heartfelt apology” and acknowledged the “huge hurt and offence she has caused” the Traveller community.

“She recognised that her tweets are of a racist manner,” said Collins.

Clifford-Lee repeated her apology after the meeting earlier today and said she is “sorry from the bottom of [her] heart”. 

“I am truly sorry for the offence I have caused. Sometimes we say things when we don’t understand the impact of the words we use,” she said in an interview with RTÉ Radio One earlier today. 

With reporting from Dominic McGrath

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Sean Murray

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