The Mayor of Naas, Co. Kildare, has resigned after he made a comment on local radio that he would not represent people of black African origin.
Fine Gael Councillor Darren Scully,a friend of Prime Minister Enda Kenny, made the remarks on local radio Kildare FM on Tuesday morning. He said he had decided not to represent black Africans due to their “aggressive” attitude towards him.
“I have been met with aggressiveness, I have been met with bad manners," he claimed. "I have also been played the race card - it's been said, 'Oh yeah, you will help white people, but you don't help black people'."
The former mayor continued, "After a while I made a decision that I was just not going to take on representations from black Africans, that I would be very courteous to them and I would pass on their query to other public representatives who would take their concerns."
His comments evoked strong public criticism as well as his own party, Fine Gael, distancing themselves from his remarks. Members of the Labour Party called for Scully to resign.
Naas Town Council called a special meeting for Tuesday evening to discuss the comments, but the 38-year-old resigned before it happened.
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He issued the following statement: "I wish to apologize unreservedly for my remarks on 4FM and KFM. I realize they have caused deep hurt and offence in all communities and in all sectors of society.
"I have been proud to be Mayor of Naas and to represent all the people of the town. However, as a result of the upset that I have caused, I feel it is appropriate that I step down from this position."
Fine Gael issued this statement: "The views expressed by Cllr Scully do not reflect the views of Fine Gael and they are not party policy.
"Fine Gael is an inclusive party and we are trying to build a country that caters for all."
The Equality Authority described Mr Scully’s remarks as very concerning. “We will be very concerned that any member of the public would be denied access to the democratic process," a spokesman told the Irish Times.
“Equally, it is very concerning that the actions of one individual would brand an entire sector and community, and deny them access to the democratic process.”
Listen to the audio here: