'Go back to Ireland' - English former mayor slammed for branding travellers 'thieves with filthy ways'
An English former mayor has caused controversy by claiming that travellers in the UK "should go back to Ireland" with their "thieving and filthy ways".
His comments were made in a heated email exchange with Labour councillor, Julian Ware-Lane.
Mr Ware-Lane called for more "compassion, tolerance and understanding" of the traveller community in Southend-on-Sea, Essex in an email to his fellow local councillors.
He said that he is "seriously concerned that the traveller community gets treated like pariahs and are shifted from pillar to post".
He received a reply from Chris Walker (72), a Conservative councillor and former mayor of Southend.
Mr Walker said: "They are treated like pariahs because they are pariahs. They have been driven from Ireland whence they emanate because of their thieving and filthy ways."
He added: "They contribute nothing to society in the way of taxes etc and create filth wherever they go.
“Why should we make allowance for them? It would be better for all if they were to learn the foolishness of their ways and go back to Ireland.
“They are their own worst enemies."
Mr Ware-Lane shared the response on his blog http://awordfromwier.blogspot.ie.
He said that he hopes Mr Walker rethinks his comments, retracts them and then aplogises.