Local Councillor Pearse McGeough has hit out at those responsible for racist graffiti that appeared overnight in Ardee.
Cllr McGeough said: “When this was reported to me and I saw what had been written I was appalled. The people of Ardee are among the best in the country and they do not share these racist sentiments. The community in Ardee are just that, a community and do not tolerate such racism.”
The graffiti appeared along the popular Ardee Railway walk and has been reported to the Council so it can be removed.
The Sinn Fein Cllr added: “this peaceful, beautiful walk is enjoyed by people of the area and has become especially valuable lately due to the Covid 19 restrictions. Families use it regularly and I am disgusted to think that children will see these comments, especially children who may have foreign nationalist parents.
“I want to send a strong message to those who did this. It is this kind of act that is not wanted here. You have disfigured the landscape with your vile comments. Ireland is growing into a multicultural place to live and work and people should not be afraid to live or work here.”
Cllr McGeough continued: “I want to reassure those that have settled in Ardee that this cowardly act was carried out by a very small minority and they do not represent the good people of the area. Racism will not be allowed to gain momentum and communities across this island will work hard to ensure that. Racism should be and will be opposed at every level.”
The graffiti included reference to a far right party and Cllr McGeough expressed his concern at this.
“Working class areas are a prime target for hate groups. Where resources are low, for example a housing shortage, these groups will attempt to sow the seeds of hatred by using the ‘immigrants, taking our houses’ mentality instead of directing their blame where it belongs, government policies. It’s always easier to blame those who are vulnerable or in a minority. That’s unacceptable.
“It’s time the government enacted the long overdue hate legislation so people who carry out hate crimes at any level can be punished accordingly.
“There is no appetite for the extreme right parties or individuals in this county, you only have to look at the results of the last election when a representative running on a racist platform only got a handful of votes. They failed to get a foothold in Louth and that’s not going to change anytime soon. I have worked and represented the people of Ardee for many years and can tell you, these sentiments are not reflective of the community.”
He concluded: "To those who spray painted the walls, cop on to yourselves. Do something productive for your community instead. Indeed, it may suit you better to return to education and learn how to spell.”