Dennison says sorry for ‘racist’ remarks

by Gazette Reporter

FORMER Mayor of Fingal Kieran Dennison (FG) has apologised for accusing council candidate Natalie Treacy (SF) of racism in her campaign slogan “One of Our Own” in the run-up to the local elections last May.
He said: “I acknowledge Cllr Natalie Treacy’s election slogan during the course of the last local election was not racist.
“I also acknowledge that Cllr Natalie Treacy is not a racist. I apologise to Cllr Natalie Treacy.”
While welcoming new Irish citizens to Fingal in May, Cllr Dennison accused Cllr Treacy who was seeking a seat at the time, of racism and posted his accusation on his blog along with other criticisms of Sinn Fein.
He later removed the statement after receiving a letter from Cllr Treacy’s solicitor.
Cllr Treacy has maintained that the slogan referred to her growing up in the Fortlawn area, part of the ward in which she was running.
She said the idea originated in the reaction of her neighbours when they learned that she was running for the council.
The issue never made it to a court room as an agreement was reached between both parties through their solicitors.
Speaking to the Gazette, Cllr Treacy said: “I’m delighted that the apology is there but disappointed that I had to take it so far. If I hadn’t, what kind of message would I have been sending out to those people who voted for me?
“Cllr Dennison was the mayor at that time and he has to realise that a man in his position can’t get away with stuff like this.
“What has to be remembered as well is that, at the time he made that comment I had never even met the man, so he had no right whatsoever to pass judgment.
“We weren’t even running against each other, he was running in Mulhuddart and I was running in Castleknock. He has agreed to put the apology up on his website, and that’s all I wanted.”
Speaking to the Gazette, Cllr Dennison said: “When I was elected Mayor of Fingal I stated I would be a mayor for all the people regardless of religion or race.”
According to Cllr Dennison, he had been contacted by numerous members of minority communities in the constituency who were offended by Cllr Treacy’s slogan.
He said: “I made my remarks about the slogan used by Ms Treacy last May because many in our minority communities found it offensive and were afraid to speak out themselves.
“I accept that several other interpretations could be taken from her slogan and I had no problem offering to print an apology on my website.”

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