independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Fine Gael’s Darren Scully quits as mayor of Naas over his comments about ‘black Africans’

THE mayor of Naas Darren Scully bowed to pressure this evening and resigned his position on the Town Council after he warned in a radio interview that he would refuse to represent members of the black community.

The Fine Gael councillor, was reported to gardai after he told the Kfm radio station he found "black Africans" to be aggressive and bad mannered.



Naas Town Council called a special meeting this evening in the wake of the racism controversy.



Cllr Scully was accused of racism after the interview in which he said: "I've been met with aggressiveness, I've been met with bad manners and I've also been played the race card.



"It's been said, 'You would help white people but you don't help black people'."



He went on to say: "After a while of this I made a decision that I was not going to take on representations from Africans. I've said that I would be very courteous to them and that I would pass on their query to other public representatives who would take their concerns."



"I don't raise this issue at council meetings, I don't make an issue about this.



"It saddens me that people would call me a racist because I'm not. I know what I am as a person and I'm not any of those things."



Labour TD for Dublin Central Aodhan O'Riordain reported father-of-two Mr Scully's remarks to Gardai under the Incitement to Hatred Act.



If convicted he could face six months to two years in jail or fines ranging from €1,000 to €10,000.



"He made really stupid, racist comments. In a country like ours, that's not good enough anymore," Deputy O’Riordain said.



Ciara Conway, Labour TD for Waterford, said she was appalled by the comments made by Mr Scully.



"I am sickened that in this day and age we have to tackle such small-minded ignorance from bigots like this. Of course, he has qualified his statement by playing the 'I'm not a racist but ...' card. As if that's an acceptable excuse," she said.



Mr Scully is an engineer surveyor for an insurance company and a father of two.



In his manifesto he pledged to "fight hard for a fair deal for Naas and to represent all of its citizens without fear or favour".



A Fine Gael spokesman confirmed that 38-year-old Mr Scully's remarks will be investigated.



The official declined to outline any sanctions open to the party to deal with racist behaviour from members.



"Comments such as these are dealt with on a case by case basis," said the spokesman.



"The views expressed by Cllr Scully do not reflect the views of Fine Gael, and they are not party policy. Fine Gael is an inclusive party and we are trying to build a country that caters for all.



"The party will be looking into the matter of Cllr Scully's comments further."



Mr Scully, who served as chairman of the Naas Garda Liaison Committee and has been a member of Fine Gael since he was 18, offered his resignation after a day of controversy.



Anti-racism organisation Show Racism the Red Card also called for Mr Scully's resignation.



Co-ordinator Garrett Mullan said there was no place for racism in politics.



"The qualification for Mr Scully's comments that 'I am not racist' is bizarre," said Mr Mullan.



"There cannot be an acceptance of racism within politics in Ireland. Elected representatives have a responsibility to their constituents.



"There can be no justification for discriminating against all people of a given background on the basis of supposed 'rudeness' of some. He should resign from his office'."



The Equality Authority has described Mr Scully's remarks as very concerning.



A spokesman said: "We will be very concerned that any member of the public would be denied access to the democratic process.



"Equally, it is very concerning that the actions of one individual would brand an entire sector and community, and deny them access to the democratic process."



The Integration Centre has called for Fine Gael to send a clear message on its attitude towards racism by expelling Mr Scully.



Killian Forde, chief executive, said the comments were truly idiotic and appealed to Taoiseach Enda Kenny to take action.



"An Taoiseach needs to provide very strong leadership here," said Mr Forde.



"This is one of the first times an Irish politician has so blatantly played the race card. He needs to be expelled. Fine Gael, as the governing party, need to make a very clear statement on behalf of the government on their attitude towards racism."



He added that Ireland faces a number of challenges when it comes to racial discrimination.



"The body which used to monitor racism here, the NCCRI (National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism), was one of the first bodies cut in the recession - giving the clear message that this issue is of little importance in Ireland," he said.



Cllr Scully hit the headlines three years ago when he claimed that young women were getting pregnant to increase their chances of getting housed by local authorities.



He even claimed that teens were looking for "advice on how to get pregnant".



He made his comments at a meeting of Naas Town Council and later told the Irish Independent: "I fully stand over what I said. There are a small percentage of women in the town of Naas who are getting pregnant so that they can get up the list and get a council house."



"One clinical nurse in Louth rang me to say she had an 18-year-old in with her this morning and was devastated she wasn't pregnant because all of her friends had gotten houses or flats and she wanted advice on how to get pregnant."



Cllr Seamie Moore called the special meeting of Naas Town Council tonight because of what he called a “misconception of support” for Cllr Scully.



Listen to Darren Scully’s interview on KFM here



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