ANGRY: Gearoid Murphy, Deputy General Manager of the Riverside Hotel, was disgusted to see racist stickers stuck to lamp posts along Muckross Road this week. Photo: Michelle Crean
By Michelle Crean
A local hotel worker has branded xenophobic stickers – stuck to approximately 20 lamp posts along the Muckross Road – as “vile” and “disgusting” this week.
Gearoid Murphy, Deputy General Manager at the Riverside Hotel, who popped in to check emails on Tuesday morning, was alerted to the notebook sized stickers depicting an image of five non-nationals resembling Muslims, Asians and Romanians, with a sign pointing towards the Convention Centre brandishing the words ‘YOU’LL NEVER BE IRISH’, which left two foreign members of staff visibly upset.
“I wanted to do something, so I immediately rang the Gardai and another Manager rang the Council,” Gearoid told the Killarney Advertiser.
However, he says coming to work at 2.30pm for his shift, the stickers were still there from Flesk Bridge down to the turnoff at Woodlawn, and he got angry.
“I ripped a few of them off. The Council later removed the rest. I think we do need to make a massive deal out of this. I’ve never seen anything like this happen before. Someone printed these and they are professional.”
He added that he believes this is a once off and does not represent the people of Killarney.
“Killarney is the most welcoming and diverse town in the country. It has never happened before. I think it needs to be made a major issue so that it doesn’t become common place.”
Appeal for information
Killarney Gardai are also appealing to the public for information on the incident.
“We are appealing to anyone who may know something to let us know,” a Garda spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.
“Someone must know something. They were put up in a number of places and someone may have witnessed that or know where they were printed.”
Mayor of Kerry, Niall Kelleher, condemned the incident saying he is disgusted and enraged.
“Stickers placed on poles in public areas are racist and xenophobic, and in my opinion, they represent an incitement to hatred,” he said.
“They have no place and are not welcome in our town or in our communities. I call on all public representatives to denounce this action by cowardly, faceless individuals and I call on the Gardaí to do everything within their power to fully investigate this act and to bring the culprit(s) to justice.”
Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce also voiced their disgust saying they condemn the act in the strongest possible terms.
“Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the mindless and completely unacceptable actions of whoever was responsible for placing racist, vulgar and pitiful slogans in a public area, under the cover of darkness, on Tuesday morning,” they said.
“Such dreadful behaviour has no place in the progressive and successful town of Killarney where there is a warm, genuine and universal welcome for everybody. We appreciate the enormous contribution made by people from overseas, over several decades, who come to live and work alongside us and become our neighbours, friends and colleagues and our children’s friends, classmates and teammates. The Chamber’s steadfast view is that there must be absolutely no tolerance for discrimination, prejudice, insult or antagonism directed at anybody because they are of a different race or ethnicity.”