Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Race row ex-mayor loses party whip

The former mayor of Naas, councillor Darren Scully

A former mayor of Naas who was forced to resign amid racism allegations last year has lost the Fine Gael party whip.

Councillor Darren Scully refused to represent members of the black community in November, when he was mayor of the Co Kildare town.

He said he found "black Africans" to be bad-mannered and aggressive, and warned he did not wish to deal with them personally as mayor.

A Fine Gael spokesman has now confirmed that Mr Scully has been informed of the disciplinary decision. "The Disciplinary Committee of Fine Gael has concluded that the party whip be removed from councillor Darren Scully, Kildare Co and Naas Town Council arising from his actions of November 21 and 22 last," said the spokesman.

Mr Scully made the remarks to Co Kildare radio station KFM, but apologised following an immediate backlash of calls from politicians and anti-racism groups to resign. He said his remarks had been misinterpreted and insisted that he abhors racism. But he conceded it would be appropriate for him to resign given the upset caused by the comments.

The former mayor had accused members of the black community of using their race to get help from the council. "I've been met with aggressiveness, I've been met with bad manners and I've also been played the race card," Mr Scully told the radio station at the time. "It's been said 'You would help white people but you don't help black people'.

"After a while of this I made a decision that I was not going to take on representations from Africans. I've said that I would be very courteous to them and that I would pass on their query to other public representatives who would take their concerns."

Labour TD for Dublin Aodhan O'Riordain reported Mr Scully's remarks to Gardai under the Incitement to Hatred Act. If charged by Gardai, the father-of-two could have faced six months to two years in jail or fines ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 euro. Mr Scully was replaced as Naas mayor by councillor Willie Callaghan from Fianna Fail.

In a statement, Fine Gael said: "Removal of the whip means that he (Mr Scully) will not be able to represent Fine Gael on Kildare County Council, Naas Town Council or any of the committees of these bodies. He remains a member of Fine Gael on an individual basis."

But Killian Forde, chief executive of the Integration Centre, said it was appalling that Fine Gael has not expelled Mr Scully from the party. "His expulsion from Fine Gael was the only logical decision for the party to make," he said.

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