Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/786/17653
Ireland: Victimising the vulnerable
This is an extract from a speech by Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) TD Joe Higgins in the Irish Parliament:
It has been a terrible week for social protection in Ireland. This Social Welfare Bill and the budget make swinging economic attacks on the elderly with its swinging snatching back of tens of thousands of medical cards; on the young with its savage slashing of their jobseeker's allowance; on pregnant women with the callous slashing of their maternity benefit; among many other attacks.
And as we discuss social protection, today the Irish state stands ashamed in front of the world. A situation where a bigoted busybody sends a bigoted and ignorant Facebook message to a journalist, to the effect that because a child in a Roma family has blonde hair and blue eyes and "it's a big problem with missing kids, the Roma robbing them to get child benefit in Europe.
And in foot of this journalist, Gardaí and HSE, two powerful state agencies, swallow the assumption that is based on the most abysmal and ignorance and racial stereotyping to the effect that it is impossible for a Roma person to be blonde and blue eyed, and remove that child from its home in Tallaght, County Dublin (and apparently a similar situation in Athlone).
It is pathetic for the Taoiseach to claim that he believes this was done on good faith. Good faith, so called, based on the ignorant and bigoted assumptions, is not a basis for child protection policy, it is a mandate for injustice against social minorities.
The scandal of the Roma children removed from their homes occurred because of the stereotyping that exists in the establishment of this society.
A video of Joe's full speech can be seen at www.socialistworld.net
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