The leader of Ireland’s Green Party has apologised “for any hurt caused” after he mentioned the n-word during a debate in the Dail.
Eamon Ryan made the comments during a Dail speech as TDs were discussing the death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement and racism.
He tweeted: “I made a speech in the Dail today about the scourge of racism in our society. In quoting from an article I read this morning, I repeated a racial slur, and I was completely wrong to do so. I want to apologise for any hurt caused. I know this particular word should never be used.”
I made a speech in the DÃ¡il today about the scourge of racism in our society. In quoting from an article I read this morning, I repeated a racial slur, and I was completely wrong to do so. I want to apologise for any hurt caused. I know this particular word should never be used.— Eamon Ryan (@EamonRyan) June 11, 2020
Mr Ryan said the word while quoting a newspaper article about a young man’s experience of growing up black in Ireland.
“I read an article in a newspaper today about a young Irishman called Sean Gillane giving his experience of being othered and how from the age of six he was given that name – you n*****.”
“It explained that sense of how that name completely undermines people.
“I know people, friends and relations of colour in this country and Travellers and other minorities… they speak of the same experience. It is real.”
Green Party councillor Daniel Whooley says Mr Ryan’s apology “is not good enough”, and described his use of the n-word as “morally reprehensible”.
He said: “No person should use such words of hate regardless of the context, especially in Dail Eireann. The language used was most un-parliamentary and beneath the house of the Oireachtas.
“I do not believe that any parliamentarian who invokes such words, be it mistaken or on purpose, should lead an Irish political party.”
I have the same privilege as Eamon, so I donât want to take space from Black voices or to speak on their behalf - but, this passively worded non apology isnât good enough in my opinion. It is not acceptable to use this language in any context, nevermind in our national parliament https://t.co/RJipWGdlD1— Lorna Bogue (@LornaBogue) June 11, 2020
Party colleague Lorna Bogue said she agrees with Mr Whooley.
She tweeted: “I have the same privilege as Eamon, so I don’t want to take space from Black voices or to speak on their behalf – but, this passively worded non apology isn’t good enough in my opinion.
“It is not acceptable to use this language in any context, never-mind in our national parliament.”
Rise TD Paul Murphy tweeted that no-one should use the n-word.
Don't use the N-word. It's a word rooted in brutality, violence and slavery.— Paul Murphy (@paulmurphy_TD) June 11, 2020
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar did not react to Mr Ryan saying the word but said young Irish people of colour need more role models.
“One thing I strongly agree with the deputy on is the need to set a target on the number of minorities in the public service.
“We have a health service that is very diverse although less so as you reach senior levels.
“There is not very many people from a minority background in the gardai, defence forces and education sector and not at all in the civil service which is very white, that needs to change.
“We need a generation of young people growing up in Ireland who are people of colour to see black and brown school principals… visibility and opportunity is really important.”