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Castlebar District Court (File) Google Street View

Integration Centre to complain to Gardaí over comments by Mayo judge

The immigrants’ rights group said that the apology by Judge Mary Devins for comparing the social welfare system to a charity for Polish people was ‘rambling, contrived and spurious’.

THE INTEGRATION CENTRE has dismissed as “rambling, contrived and spurious” the apology by a Mayo judge for comments made about Polish people and the social welfare system and says it intends to complain to Gardáí today.

The immigrants’ rights group was responding to the controversy caused by Judge Mary Devins at Castlebar District Court last week when she compared the social welfare system to a charity for Polish people.

In an apology issued through the Courts Service yesterday evening, Judge Devins said that the remark had been made “in the context of – and alluding to – another recent, violent, alcohol fuelled incident” and was intended to be specific to that incident.

She said it “was never intended to offend any community, or members of any community,” and added: “If insult was taken from my comment I apologise for same.”

But the Integration Centre said the apology was “rambling, contrived and spurious”.

In a statement the group added: “Her apology seeks to blame those offended by her remark for the insult they took. She needed to give an unequivocal apology to Polish people, this she did not.

“Her past form on previous comments about Poles concerns us and demonstrates a bias not appropriate for any public servant and particularly a Judge.”

The group said it intends to make a complaint to Gardaí today under the Garda Racist Reporting Mechanism which allows any person to report a racist incident even if they haven’t been the actual victim.

The Integration Centre chief executive Killian Forde said: “Given that there is no mechanism to discipline or even make a formal complain about Judges we feel obliged to take this action in response to Judge Devins remark and her opportune and irrelevant so called apology.

“The Polish community in Ireland are now the biggest minority in the country and her remarks are, at best, grossly insulting to the tens of thousands of hard working Poles, we could only imagine the horror if a British Judge insulted the Irish community in Britain this way.”

The group said that it also hoepd that the gardaí would also investigate whether Judge Devins’ remarks are in breach of Section 2 of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989.

Read: Mayo judge apologises for Polish ‘social welfare’ comment

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