Senator withdraws his 'racist' comments
A FIANNA Fail senator accused of being racist has withdrawn comments in which he said he insists on getting into taxis with Irish drivers because "non-nationals" don't know where they are going.
Paschal Mooney said he wasn't "being discriminatory" but it prompted an angry response from immigrant groups.
"We completely agree with Senator Mooney's assertion, he is not being discriminatory – he is being racist," said Killian Forde, CEO of the Integration Centre.
Mr Mooney made his comments while debating new taxi regulations in the Seanad.
"There is more than anecdotal evidence that people are driving taxis around the city who do not know one of the streets from the other," he said.
"I have experienced it myself. I am not being discriminatory when I say that it has nearly always been non-nationals who do this. It has got to the point, and I make no apologies for it, that I prefer to go to a local taxi driver rather than somebody who is obviously a non-national."
But he later withdrew the comments. "I wish to unreservedly withdraw the remarks and apologise for any offence caused. I fully acknowledge and respect the contribution of non-nationals to the life of Ireland, and I clearly stated that my remarks should not have been interpreted as discriminatory."