Tag Archives: Roma


Waterford city (top) at the weekend

“With the 1989 Incitement to Hatred Act for all intents and purposes unworkable, we are, in 2014, operating in a policy vacuum where racism is concerned. This is not acceptable. We need the government to make bringing forward a new National Action Plan Against Racism a priority for the rest of its term. This National Action plan must include legislation for combating racially aggravated and other forms of bias-motivated crime, hate speech and incitement to hatred.“

Shane O’Curry, European Network Against Racism (ENAR)

ENAR Ireland (Facebook)

Waterford anti-Roma protests criticised as ‘cowardly and racist’ (irish Times)

Thanks Mark Malone


RTÉ reports:

“Pavee Point said the controversial removal of the two blonde Roma children, and their subsequent return to their families, has exacerbated Roma distrust of officialdom.

The organisation said it is leading many mothers of newborn babies to hide from public health nurses, thus depriving their babies of vaccinations.”

Increase in Roma children not being vaccinated, report finds (RTÉ)

Previously: “Bizarre, Orwellian, And Strange”

Early Profiling


16/8/2013 Rob Heffernan Homecomings(Marian and Rob Heffernan, Dublin Airport, August 2013)

Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin spoke with Rob and Marian Heffernan on her show on RTE Radio 1 on Sunday.

She specifically asked him about that racist tweet controversy.

Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin: Rob, you’ve also found yourself though in the middle of a controversy as well and partly to do with that way that you’re a national focus now. Tell me about the tweet that you sent.

Rob Heffernan: Aw, you know looking back it was the biggest mistake that I’ve made you know since Moscow. Like I remember just sitting down on a Tuesday night at home you know and I was just very very busy I was just back from Dublin and I’d a load of stuff on and then you know obviously the case of the child presumably been kidnapped was all over the papers and I just responded to a twitter feed on twitter and said you know it was disgraceful and you know ship ’em out and it was just me being ordinary at home thinking of Madeline McCann and then the kneejerk reaction to it then is that I was being called racist and that it was disgraceful and..

A Ní S: “Were you surprised by that reaction?”

RH: “Yeah. I was very hurt like because you know like I’ve trained all over the world you know and I’ve really good friends all over the world in all different communities and I, you know when I bring it back, I reacted to thinking a child was kidnapped and it was stupid because I never read all the facts. And I threw it out and I apologised and still people are bringing it up to me and it is. You know I didn’t sleep over it . You know I was just surprised that people were ready to tear me down like and have pops off me and you know I apologised I was very very sorry for it you know.”

A Ní S: “Marian, what impact did that have on Rob? That reaction?”

Marian Heffernan: “Being married to him, and living with him and knowing him, he’s very much not a racist. Aw, like you know reading some of the stuff that people were saying like. It was just, felt unfair you know that like. This, this kinda title was put over him, and it was so far from what he actually was and his character. Oh my God, people have got it so wrong. You know the tweet was stupid of him obviously.”

A Ní S: “Rob, as you’ve said it was kneejerk and it was a harsh reaction but what have you learned from it?”

RH: “The biggest lesson from me out of it is that going back to you know to the reaction that the public had to me, you know I’m just an ordinary fella from Cork and this really drove it home to me that you need to be more responsible, you are a public figure now and you can’t just be throwing out comments like this. You know I have to think of the bigger picture and the impact it can have. It’s after giving me a big realisation you know in a negative way now of where I am now and that I have that that…”

MH: “…responsibility.”

RH: “…that responsibility being a public figure. You know I apologised and I’m only human you know, people make mistakes and people need to get over it as well like you know and move on like you know.”

A Ní S: “That responsibility, is that distracting going back into your training?

RH: “No. I’ve apologised and I’ve explained myself. If anything, it’s after making me more focused because you know everything was so good. And you know there was probably a point there where I thought I could walk on water everything was so positive like and ah. I think, no it gave me a big reality of the world you know and when I go back training it’s like oh no. I’m very very focused going back and I’m very driven and I know what I’m about, I’ve apologised and it’ll make me focus more on what I’m good at like. I won’t being commenting on any other things moving forward.”



There was no mention of someone creating a ‘bad press’ public list on his twitter account hours after he made his apology on RTE News.

Listen here (Scroll to 06:25 mark)

Previously: Race Focused

Heffo Zeroes

Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

RomaARC(Roma protest outside the Refugee Applications Commission Office on Lower Mount Street in Dublin in 1998)

On October 23, 1998, Paul Cullen, of The Irish Times wrote about a group of 47 Roma who arrived via container trucks at Rosslare, Co. Wexford in July 1998.

He told how all of the 47 Roma had their applications rejected and that one of the 47 was turned down even though she had never been granted an interview.

One of the Roma women was giving birth to her first child when she was told her application had been refused.


“The 47 Romas, all from the Arad region of eastern Romania, were smuggled into Ireland in freight containers in July. They spent 48 hours in the container before being discovered by gardai at Rosslare. All say that as members of the Roma ethnic minority in Romania they suffer persecution and discrimination. Shortly after arriving, they were moved to Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, and put up in a holiday hostel.”

“The Department’s decision to refuse the group asylum was one of the fastest it has made. It is believed to want to deter more gypsies from coming to Ireland. This tactic may have backfired, as the speed of the decision has brought Monaghan people to their aid, and their case has attracted media attention.”


It’s understood all of the 47 Roma subsequently settled in Ireland.

Note:The system of Direct Provision didn’t begin until April 2000. And, after the Citizenship Referendum of 2004, children born in Ireland were no longer automatically entitled to Irish citizenship – unless, at the time of their birth, one of their parents was an Irish citizen or was entitled to be an Irish citizen.

Pic Derek Spiers via Asylum Archive

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 23.02.32

On Saturday’s Six-One News World 50K Walk Champion Rob Heffernan apologised for his tweet in which he wrote that Roma “should be shipped out“.

“….and I want to apologise ya know to any people or group of people that I’ve offended and you know like I feel, I feel terrible over it you know.”

Hours later on Rob and Marian’s twitter account, someone was adding journalist and anti-racism campaigner Una Kavanagh to a (now deleted) public list labelled ‘bad-press’.

Ms Kavanagh had a single interaction on Wednesday with the athletics champion when she questioned his Roma tweet.

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His apology came a day after being contacted by a Sunday Times journalist.

In his front page story on Sunday, John Mooney wrote that Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI) had said that Heffernan should not represent Ireland at any future athletics championships or the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Martin Collins, spokesman for Pavee Point described Heffernan’s comments as an incitement to hatred.

DSC00192Previously: Race Focused

Anything Good In The New York Times?

Humiliating Una