Statement from Republican Sinn Féin President, Des Dalton
The hysteria whipped up by the media and acted on by the 26-County police, resulting in two Roma children being separated from their families, in what must have been the most traumatic of circumstances, is an episode that is symptomatic of all that is wrong with this state. What is most frightening about this case is the arbitrary nature in which a journalist passed on a piece of anecdotal evidence to the Gardaí and within hours a child is taken from her parents. In the midlands a call from a member of the public resulted in another child being separated from his parents, again with little if any evidence being presented of a crime having been committed.
Pavee Point quiet correctly describes this as “racial profiling in the extreme”. In each case the children were taken from their parents as a matter of first resort rather than last resort, as would be the norm in all but the most extreme cases of child protection.
The targeting of both families on the basis of their ethnicity as Roma should make us all uneasy about the direction in which our society is heading. Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council says both cases are worrying because: “they involved members of a particularly marginalised community and we would worry about people being targeted because they are part of a particular ethnic group.”
Denise Charlton pointed out that the events of the past week came on the back of comments from the 26-County Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton in which she indicated that half of social welfare fraud was carried out by immigrants, something which the Immigrant Council say is not supported by any evidence.
This targeting of minorities is nothing new in times of economic hardship and collapse. Marginalised groups are a convenient means of distracting the populace from the real source of their social and economic woes. What occurred here exposes the supposed concern of the Dublin Administration for the welfare of children as only so much empty rhetoric. It is easy to play to the gallery on such issues but let it be on their actions that they should be judged.
Marginalising the vulnerable and stoking the flames of racial prejudice and stereotype are to borrow a phrase the last refuge of the political charlatan. Targeting the weak in order to protect the powerful. Don’t be fooled people, recognise who your real enemies are. The bankers, financiers and their friends in the political class. Those who have robbed us all and continue to do so. In the words of the great Woody Guthrie: Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered I’ve seen lots of funny men; Some will rob you with a six-gun, And some with a fountain pen.