Ireland mayor quits after race comment

Darren Scully is stepping down as mayor of Naas in County Kildare, Ireland.

Story highlights

  • Irish Mayor Darren Scully resigns after saying he would no longer represent people of black African origin
  • He said the black Africans were aggressive towards him and accused him of not standing up for them
  • As a result, he said on radio, he had decided to actually stop representing them
  • Opposition parties demanded he step down as mayor of Naas
The mayor of a town in Ireland has resigned and faces a possible police investigation after saying he would no longer represent people of black African origin.
Councillor Darren Scully was Mayor of Naas in County Kildare, near the Irish capital, Dublin.
Interviewed on local radio Tuesday morning, Scully said he had decided not to represent black Africans because of their "aggressive" attitude to 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 then 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."
Members of other political parties called for Scully to resign and Tuesday evening he did just that.
He issued the following statement: "I wish to apologise unreservedly for my remarks on 4FM and KFM. I realise 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."
Earlier, political rivals Sinn Fein had accused him of being racist, but in his statement Scully denied the claim. He said: "I realise now that my remarks were open to an interpretation that I did not intend. I abhor racism in all its forms."
Naas Town Council had called a special meeting for Tuesday evening to discuss the controversy, but Scully resigned just ahead of it.
The now ex-mayor is a member of the main party in the Irish coalition government - Fine Gael - but said he was expressing personal views.
The party agreed - 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."
A lawmaker with the junior partners in the coalition government, Aodhan O Riordain of the Labour Party, said he had reported the matter to Irish police with a view to prosecution. O Riordain branded Scully's comments "outrageous" and said they could be considered as incitement to hatred.
The Irish census of 2006 showed there were 1,862 people of African origin living in Kildare out of a population in the county of 186,335, according to the Central Statistics Office in Dublin.
Naas has a total population of just over 20,000. Local people told CNN Tuesday that race relations in the town are good and they were "really surprised" a local representative would make such comments.