Waterford Traveller Community Development Project, the only Traveller led organisation in Waterford, joins with other Traveller and human rights organisations in calling on Presidential candidate Peter Casey to withdraw from the Presidential race because of the racist and very offensive comments he made towards the Traveller community in a podcast interview on ‘The Floating Voter’ podcast on independent.ie
“Mr. Casey, with his insulting comments, has proven that he’s not in a position to be president for ALL the people, and indeed has displayed a very irresponsible and racist side to his character which we believe would make him totally unsuitable for the post of our President.”
Describing the formal recognition of Travellers as a distinct ethnic group as “a load of nonsense”, Mr. Casey goes against the unanimous decision of Dáil Eireann in March 2017 to do so. This Government recognition happened following a lengthy campaign, supported by very many civic groups, and was the culmination of many years or hard work by Traveller leaders right across Ireland including here in Waterford. Indeed, this work is ongoing, and we strive to make this formal recognition meaningful for Travellers in their everyday lives and we would expect the President of Ireland to support us in this work. If President of Ireland Mr. Casey must surely know that this kind of behaviour and commentary would be grossly overstepping his role as Head of State.
“To have comments like these made by someone who believes himself worthy of the office of President of Ireland is utterly inexcusable and shows us that Mr. Casey has absolutely no idea what life is like for the thousands of Irish Travellers who live in deplorable conditions, have a health status far below the general population and do not get the opportunity to reach their full potential in the education system. Sadly, he is more concerned with property prices than the health and wellbeing of the population”
“His comments also show a cruelness and meanness of spirit which no one wants to see attributed to the President of Ireland.”
Waterford Traveller Community Development Project requests that all presidential candidates, political leaders and civic groups condemn Mr. Casey’s comments and we call on Mr. Casey to withdraw from the presidential election campaign with immediate effect.