Presidential candidate Peter Casey: "Travellers are basically camping in someone else's land"
A controversial statement to say the least.
Presidential candidate Peter Casey has made a number of controversial comments about the travelling community in an interview a little over a week out from the presidential election next week.
The successful businessman launched what is being called "an attack" on the travelling community, saying: "They are not paying their fair share of taxes in society."
In an interview on 'The Floating Voter' podcast on independent.ie, Casey spoke about last year's decision by the Dáil to give formal recognition to Travellers as a distinct ethic group.
Casey said: "That’s a load of nonsense. They are not from Romany or whatever."
"Can you imagine the brave person from Dublin that would say, ‘I’d love a lovely four-bedroom house with solar panels and beautifully kitted-out kitchens'?"
He went on to say: "Somebody needs to sit up and say this is nonsense. Here we are are giving them luxurious houses and they’re turning them down because they’ve no stables."
Casey's comments, which were completely unprompted, have led to people calling for him to withdraw from the race.
Pavee Point, the Traveller advocacy group, have described the comments as "grossly insulting and offensive", according to the Irish Times.
In the wake of Casey's comments, speaking on Morning Ireland, Michael D. Higgins spoke about the importance of recognising "Traveller ethnicity".
"It was a very important step to recognise Traveller ethnicity, Travellers experience so many inequalities. I have spoken to young male Travellers whose suicide rate is six times of the average population" Michael D Higgins on @morningireland #aras18
— Michael D Higgins (@MichaelDHiggins) October 17, 2018
The most recent Irish Times opinion poll revealed that Peter Casey has 2% of the first share preference, with Michael D. Higgins holding a commanding lead at 66%.