Press Statement****Press Statement****Press Statement’Mayor’s Comments can serve to scapegoat’, say campaignThe Mayor of Limerick has provoked outrage by calling for unemployed EU nationals to be deported. Show Racism the Red Card Co-ordinator Garrett Mullan said: ‘The Mayor of Limerick Councillor Kevin Kiely made comments that have since been widely reported in the local and national media. His comments can serve to scapegoat immigrants and people perceived to be different as the cause or focus of Ireland’s current economic difficulties. Divisive comments from a politician can become the physical actions of others.He added: “These are difficult times for many people including immigrants in Ireland. Racism unfortunately is a feature of Irish society and politicians have particular responsibilities to be mindful of the communities they represent. Limerick is a diverse city with over 12,000 of its 84,000 population coming from outside of Ireland, according to the last census. Many immigrants in Limerick regard it as their home, yet the Mayor suggests that they should go home. He should revise his comments and the Fine Gael party should take action. He makes reference to non- nationals, which is an inaccurate term as nearly everyone has a nationality’.Government and local authorities have a responsibility for supporting the development of a cohesive and integrated Ireland. Racism has only the power to divide. It is like a cancer. If it is not removed it will spread. Unfortunately racism is a feature in Irish life, as in other countries, with 25% of teachers having witnessed racism in the classroom in the month previous to their conference this year at the TUI. In 2006, the ESRI found that 1/3 immigrants had experience of racism and for people from African backgrounds the figure was 50%. On the same day as the mayor made his comments suggesting unemployed immigrants be deported, it was reported that an Irish-American student was taken to hospital in Limerick after he was savagely assaulted by a gang of youths claims he was set upon because of his foreign accent. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/students-american-accent-sparked-vicious-assault-1939218.htmlFor contact-Garrett Mullan 086 392 7650/ 01 8280018Below is the statement from the Mayor (taken from the website of www.Newstalk.ie)The Irish Government should go back at renegotiate migrant rights with Europe.The view of the Mayor of Limerick who’s denying today that he is a racist.Fine Gael Councillor Kevin Kiely’s caused outrage after suggesting that anyone living here who ‘can’t afford to pay for themselves’ should be sent home after between three and six months.He says the country’s is virtually bankrupt and can’t afford to pay social welfare benefits to non-nationals.“The Irish government are going to have to go back and review these laws – unless the EU are going to come up with some subvention and give us some money to pay these non-nationals” he said.