Brendan Howlin TD, leader of the Labour Party, has utterly condemned the terrorist attacks on Muslims in New Zealand.
Deputy Howlin said:
“On behalf of the Labour Party in Ireland and, I know, on behalf of the vast majority of people of Ireland, I want to add my words of solidarity to the people of New Zealand, especially members of its Muslim communities.
“We utterly condemn the appalling terrorist atrocity perpetrated by individuals whose only motivation appears to be blind hate.
“Ireland is like New Zealand in many ways. We have a similar size of population and we are a peaceful country with a similarly low level of violence or gun crime. Of course, we bear the scars of the conflict in Northern Ireland, but despite that history, modern society on this island is resolutely against violence.
“Migration to Ireland has brought us a diverse and multi-cultural society, with new mosques being built alongside many other places of worship. That social change has been greatly positive for Ireland. Most people here remember all too well that millions of Irish people left famine and poverty to become migrants workers all over the world. We remember too that the Catholic Irish were often discriminated against in places where they settled.
“I hope that we will never see a similar atrocity in Ireland, but we must remain vigilant as new technologies, in terms of both weapons and the Internet, have exposed a vulnerability in our open, pluralist societies. Most of all, we must be vigilant in everything we say and that we permit to be said in our presence. There is no place in Ireland for hate speech or stereotyping of people by religion or ethnicity. There can be no tolerance for intolerance, and I call on all politicians and community leaders to ensure that their words do nothing to foster hate, and instead that they encourage understanding and solidarity between everyone living in Ireland, regardless of their background.”