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Micheál Martin Leah Farrell
Micheál Martin

Threats to election candidates from minority backgrounds 'dangerously off the wall', Tánaiste says

Micheál Martin was speaking at the launch of Fianna Fáil’s local election manifesto this afternoon.

THREATS TO POLITICAL candidates while canvassing ahead of the local and European elections are a worry and a concern, Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said. 

In particular the Tánaiste has said he is concerned for candidates of different nationalities. 

His comments come after a video circulated online of a group of people who were canvassing on behalf of a Fianna Fáil candidate in Limerick, Suzzie O’Deniyi, being harassed and shouted at because of O’Deniyi’s race. 

In the video, the person recording can be heard shouting: “Who’s this Black woman going to look after, Irish people is it?” 

Martin described it as a “shocking” incident and that the language used was “quite horrific”. 

He said he recently canvassed with O’Deniyi and described her as a “fine candidate” who is “anxious to make a contribution to civic and community life”.

When asked if he is concerned that this sort of treatment is going to be a feature of the campaign, the Tánaiste said: 

“I would be concerned where we have candidates of different nationalities and I think it’s really important in a democracy that people who come to make their life in Ireland, people who are living here, even born and reared [can run for election].

“But some of these people think, because of the colour of their skin or whatever, feel [they can] still be subjected to attack and should be attacked – it is just so off the wall, but dangerously off the wall, that one would have to worry, one would have to be concerned about it.”

He added: “We have quite a number of nationalities running, which we’re delighted with, and I think that’s about democracy. That’s about participation. It’s about integration, and that’s important.”

The Tánaiste was speaking at the launch of Fianna Fáil’s local election manifesto today in Dublin. 

The party is running 365 candidates across the country, including 100 first-time candidates.

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