Race row councillor quits as mayor but stays in FG
Scully refuses to say if he has changed African views
Published 23/11/2011 | 05:00
A FINE GAEL politician resigned as town mayor last night after making controversial comments about "black African" constituents -- but he remains in the party.
Darren Scully (38) caused uproar after he said he was no longer willing to take representations from Africans living in Co Kildare because they had "bad manners" and were "aggressive".
Mr Scully, who is married to a garda, last night stepped down from his role as mayor of Naas but did not quit politics.
He still holds a seat for Fine Gael on Kildare County Council and Naas Town Council.
When contacted by the Irish Independent, the father of two said he was "worried" for his family's safety in the wake of the controversy.
Mr Scully did not say if he had changed his position on representing Africans notwithstanding his apology.
Gardai are investigating the comments made by Mr Scully on Classic Hits 4FM and again on his local radio station, KFM, yesterday.
A garda spokesman said they were aware of the reported remarks and the matter was being examined to determine "whether an offence" had taken place.
Mr Scully's Fine Gael colleagues were last night distancing themselves from his views.
Cathaoirleach of Athy Town Council Richard Daly, who sits on Kildare County Council with Mr Scully, said he found the remarks "offensive not just to the African community but to the community in general".
"The classification of any group of people according to their colour or nationality is racism and does not sit well with any but the most extreme political parties.
"Fine Gael is not one of those parties and I and my colleagues in Fine Gael in Athy will gladly represent all sections of our community," he said.
It remains to be seen if the party will move to expel Mr Scully after a furious backlash from immigrants' groups.
His comments also made international headlines on American television station ABC and in newspapers in Britain.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Mr Scully's views were completely at odds with the Fine Gael position. "No I haven't (spoken to him).
"But I am glad to note that Darren Scully held his hands up as it were and stood down as Mayor of Naas and recognised and apologised in that his comments were completely out of touch and at variance with what FG's standard here is. I am glad that he has accepted that and stood down from his position."
The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) condemned Mr Scully, stating that he showed "callous disregard for a significant section of his constituents".
Naas Town Council called a special meeting last night to discuss the crisis.
However, before it started, Fine Gael issued a statement from Mr Scully on his resignation as mayor of the town.
"I wish to apologise unreservedly for my remarks on 4FM and KFM. I realise they have caused deep hurt and offence in all communities and in all sectors of society.
"I realise now that my remarks were open to an interpretation that I did not intend. I abhor racism in all its forms," he said.
Mr Scully said he had been proud to be Mayor of Naas and to "represent all the people of the town".
"However, as a result of the upset that I have caused, I feel it is appropriate that I step down from this position," he added.
Earlier, Mr Scully had told radio listeners that he would no longer take representations from his African constituents.
And in an email to 4fm, he said that he found the majority of African immigrants to be "very demanding" and "very quick to play the race card if you disagreed with their point of view". He said the "PC brigade" would be "out in force" accusing him of being a racist for raising the subject.
Mr Scully was challenged on Kfm's 'Kildare Today' show over his views yesterday but he re-iterated that in his seven years of experience with the council, his dealings "with black Africans has not been good".
"I have been met with bad manners. I have also been played the race card, 'oh, you help white people but not black people'," he said.
"I made a conscious decision earlier this year that I, myself, personally, was not going to take representations from black Africans. I will pass them on to other councillors," he said.
Waterford Labour TD Ciara Conway said she was "absolutely appalled" by Mr Scully's comments.
"I have a daughter of mixed parentage, and she's among a new generation of non-Caucasian Irish citizens. Would Mayor Scully handle her queries?" she said, before adding that she was "sickened".