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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 5 December, 2019

Standing ovation at SF Ard Fheis in support of Martin Kenny whose car was set alight outside his home

The Sligo-Leitrim TD said it has been a very difficult time for his family.

Kenny told that he does not want race and immigration to be a general election issue, stating he hopes Irish politics is more responsible than that.
Kenny told that he does not want race and immigration to be a general election issue, stating he hopes Irish politics is more responsible than that.

TD MARTIN KENNY received a standing ovation when he took to the podium at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis this afternoon. 

The Sligo-Leitrim TD thanked everyone who sent him well wishes after his home was the target of an arson attack last month.

He told the crowd today that you have to take a stand against the difficult issues, as well as the easy ones.

The Sinn Féin TD had submitted death threats he had received to gardaí following a speech he made about asylum seekers in the Dáil Chamber a number of weeks ago.

Last month, at approximately 2.30am one evening the TD’s car was set on fire in a targeted attack. Nobody was injured in the fire. 

After his car was set alight outside his home in Co Leitrim, Kenny said that the incident was not just about asylum seekers, but an attack on all of those who want a better society in Ireland.

Addressing party members today, he said: “I had to make a stand.”

Speaking to after receiving the standing ovation today, Kenny said he was taken aback by it. 

Kenny said he has received messages from “all walks of life, political and non-political people in all parties”.


Speaking about the attack on his home, he said he was “absolutely shocked” when it happened.

“I couldn’t believe it. I knew that maybe there would be some people who would have a problem or would have an issue, but I never expected that it would be whipped up to such a level,” he said. 

Asked how he and his family have been coping since the incident, he said:

“It’s difficult, it is difficult to manage, it was very stressful, but I mean we’re okay, we’re strong, we’re fit, and we’re fine.

“I mean, they know that if I don’t make a stand on this issue, I have no credibility making a stand at any issue… you make a stand on whatever issue comes up for people that need you, and you have to be able to do that in all times and as I said today, on the hard ones as well as easy ones.”

Kenny said he is concerned about racist rhetoric being used more openly, but added that he hopes in the run in to the next election immigration won’t become a talking point. 

“I think there’s a certain danger there, I feel the danger there is people look at the far right and they talk about, you know, a little fringe of people that have very, very extreme views online, but I think the danger is that it is creeping in to what we would call ‘civilized society’ and people who are very prim and proper in every other aspect of their life, and yet they have all these prejudices and all these things that they normally hide.”

He said he is concerned that some “reasonable” people he knows are buying into this talk about “proportionality” stating that people only talk about proportionality when it comes to immigration and race.

“I think there is that there is that dangerous element there, and it’s not people in the working-class housing estates that hold these prejudiced views. It’s the people who are seen as being the pillars of society that hold these prejudice views. They will have a candle in the window to welcome Christ at Christmas, but a refugee, but not in our home. That’s the hypocrisy I see,” said Kenny.

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