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C of I priest says racism 'sanctioned' by the State

A senior Church of Ireland priest has claimed that Ireland is a society where racism is officially sanctioned, approved and legislated for.

Speaking in Saint George and Saint Thomas Church, Dublin, yesterday, on Racial Justice Sunday, Canon Patrick Comerford said he was ashamed at the treatment by Garda National Immigration officials of a visiting Catholic priest from Nigeria.

Canon Comerford was referring to publicity surrounding how the Nigerian priest, Father John Achebe, was stopped at Dublin airport last Tuesday night, and his passport was confiscated.

He was arrested on the suspicion of trying to enter the country illegally, taken to Cloverhill prison, forced to stand naked in front of other prisoners, and served with a deportation order.

But Fr Achebe was later released after the intervention of the Nigerian Ambassador.

Canon Comerford said that Fr Achebe was visiting a family member legally, and he claimed his arrest took place "all because officials don't understand the way Nigerians use, the way we as Christians should use, terms like brother and cousin".

He noted that the Garda National Immigration said everything that happened on Tuesday night was lawful and appropriate.

"We are living in a society where racism is officially sanctioned, approved and legislated for."

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