Taoiseach Varadkar said in a tweet on Monday that people need to come together to "defeat" racism.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar called upon people everywhere to stand against racism in a tweet on June 1.
Racism is a virus that we have been fighting for millennia. Despite the progress we have made, it is no less virulent today and no less dangerous. We need to show solidarity as people of all races & backgrounds around the world come together to stop its spread and defeat it.— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) June 1, 2020
In the tweet, Varadkar wrote: “Racism is a virus that we have been fighting for millennia. Despite the progress we have made, it is no less virulent today and no less dangerous. We need to show solidarity as people of all races & backgrounds around the world come together to stop its spread and defeat it.”
At the time of publishing, the tweet had more than 20.1k likes and 3.5k retweets.
Many of the replies to Varadkar's tweet included pleas to end the Direct Provision scheme in Ireland. The scheme, launched in April 2000 and managed by Ireland's Reception and Integration Agency, is "a means of meeting the basic needs of food and shelter for asylum seekers directly while their claims for refugee status are being processed rather than through full cash payments."
The scheme has come under harsh criticism after asylum-seekers are being kept in the system for far longer than anticipated, and concerns about health and hygiene in the accommodations have grown.
Some replies to Varadkar's tweet drew attention to the fact that Monday's marches disregarded the current social distancing guidelines, which Gardaí said on Tuesday is something that would be investigated.
“An Garda Síochána is investigating [a] potential breach of these regulations. . . and the advices of the Director of Public Prosecutions will be sought in respect of any further actions to be taken.
“The Covid-19 pandemic remains a public health crisis and An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to all citizens to comply with public health guidelines and regulations, in particular essential journeys, in order to continue to save lives.”
Dr. Tony Holohan, Ireland's Chief Medical Officer, also said on Tuesday that while he understands people's "motivations," the official advice remains for indoor or outdoor mass gatherings to not take place:
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said it is too early for any mass gatherings to take place. He said he understands some of the motivations involved in events over the weekend but said the public health advice has not changed | Read more: https://t.co/GdznJMuNme pic.twitter.com/UG4paU4gcK— RTÉ News (@rtenews) June 2, 2020
Varadkar’s comments came after anti-racism demonstrations were hosted across Ireland on Monday. An estimated 5,000 people marched from the GPO on Dublin’s O’Connell Street to the US Embassy in Blanchardstown on Dublin in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Protests and demonstrations, some of which have turned violent, have sprung up around the world in the wake of the death of black man George Floyd in the US.
Floyd was arrested in Minneapolis on May 25 after being accused of trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill. During the arrest, Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd's death has been ruled a homicide, and Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder.
More demonstrations are expected in Ireland this Saturday, June 6.
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