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'Black lives matter, but black feelings matter too' - Varadkar pledges focus on racism once government formed

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that the goal of the next government should be to root out racism in Irish society.

Speaking with Pat Kenny on Virgin Media One this evening, he said that people of colour who are born in Ireland and live in Ireland are “not always treated as they are Irish”

He was speaking in reference to a statement he made in the Dáil this week about riots across the US after the death of George Floyd, where he said there is an “absence of moral leadership”.

“Even though we may not have police brutality in Ireland, we have a really professional excellent garda service, we do have racism. We need to be wise of that too,” he said this evening.

“A lot of young people, people of colour, growing up in Ireland and born here, who are not treated always as they are Irish as the rest of us, as Irish as you. And I was kind of speaking to them really in recognising that black lives matter, but also black feelings matter too.”

He said that he was “shocked” when he saw the video of a policeman kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he went unconscious and later died.

“When we saw those scenes of a man losing his life in a situation he did, we were all shocked.

“There could have been a better response from the President [Trump]."

He said that once a government is formed in the coming weeks, it should focus on racism.

“I think among the things that the next government will want to do is focus on racism, on rooting it out, on campaigns against it.

“Make sure that people from ethnic minority backgrounds are better represented in the civil service, in the public service."

Online Editors