Some TDs have used racism to get elected, says Green Party TD 3 weeks ago

Some TDs have used racism to get elected, says Green Party TD

"Only a couple of weeks ago a member of this house used it in a parliamentary question to get attention."

Some TDs in Dáil Éireann used racism as a tool to get elected, Green Party TD Joe O'Brien said in the Dáil on Wednesday.

Speaking during a debate on combatting racism and supporting inclusion in Ireland, O'Brien stated that he believed racism is prevalent in every aspect of Irish society.

“Racism isn't exceptional and I think when we start taking about racists and individuals, we lose the ability to see how imbued it is in every aspect of our society," O'Brien said.

"And I'd prefer to talk about racism because it’s everywhere and if we’re all really, fully honest, we’ve all used it at some stage in our lives. I’ve used it, I’m ashamed to say, and I think every one of us has.

"There are certainly some people in this house - not here today from what I can tell - who have used it to get into this house and that needs to be called out.”

While O'Brien did not mention any TD by name, he said: “Only a couple of weeks ago a member of this house used it in a parliamentary question to get attention and that needs to be called out.”

O'Brien's comments were echoed by Labour's Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, who said there are TDs who have said such things as "asylum seekers are freeloaders, blaggards and hoodlums" and are "here to sponge off our system".

"There are two members of a governing party who have been on the wrong side of anti-Traveller literature controversies, one of them sits at cabinet," Ó Ríordáin said.

He also called for more diversity in the Taoiseach's appointments due to be made for the Seanad.