Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough has blamed the continuing scourge of racist graffiti in Ardee on imbeciles who are taking attention away from the government’s failings to respond to the homelessness crisis in the country.
The Ardee Municipal District representative visited the Riverside Walk in the town on Wednesday morning after a large section running alongside the Riverside Walk in Ardee was targeted by the vandalism on Tuesday night.
Among the slogans discovered by locals on Wednesday – down the steps and by the riverside – were ‘Ireland Belongs To The Irish’, ‘No To Commies’, ‘Free Ur Parents from EU UN Death’ and ‘Commie Scum Off Are [sic] Streets’ while one piece of graffiti references 13 homeless deaths in the state.
The latest incident was reported to both An Garda Siochana and Louth County Council on Wednesday.
“This is the fourth bout of racist graffiti in the Ardee area and I have informed the council who will be out to clean it at the tax payers expense. This has been going on since May of this year and on one occasion I had to take a paint brush myself and paint over it,” Cllr McGepugh said.
“In this latest bout they mention 13 homeless deaths and instead of putting the blame where it belongs they attempt to shift the blame onto those who have immigrated to Ireland.
“The blame belongs with government policy, the lack of a social housing building programme, the promotion of private landlords, of developers and all their capitalist policies that keep the poor and vulnerable down.
Cllr McGeough, who has previously hit out in strong terms on such hate crimes, said he believed those responsible for this instance are different to those associated with previous acts.
“These imbeciles, which in my opinion are different idiots from the last time because they appear to be able to spell, are ensuring that attention is taken off those actually responsible for the homeless crisis and housing shortage and put on those who least deserve it.
“This is how capitalism works so successfully,” he said. “The government of any country wants to divide and conquer, and racism plays into their hands. It’s always easier to blame those who are vulnerable or in a minority, that is unacceptable.
“These sentiments are not reflective of the people or community of Ardee. I would ask that if anyone sees this being carried out to please contact Gardaí who are aware of this unwelcome element in the Mid-Louth area. This is wholly unacceptable at every level.
“Ireland is growing into a multi-cultural place to live and work and that diversity is to be welcomed. We are citizens of Ireland but we are also citizens of the world. We should not be afraid of change or diversity.
“Don’t use the deaths of homeless people to further your hatred and bigotry, go and help out and do something useful or positive. Stop supporting government policies – be part of the solution, not the problem,” he concluded.
In July, Ardee Garda Superintendent James O’Leary conceded there were likely to be ‘extreme right-wing groups or persons’ living in Ardee, citing the recent cases of graffiti in public areas on the Railway Line walk and the Riverside Walk.
In May, graffiti including terms such as ‘Ireland belongs to the Irish’, ‘Nationalist Pride’, ‘Antifa and Anti-Irish scum’ and ‘Jion [sic] the Nalinal [sic] Party 2020’ were daubed on walls along the Railway Walk and the adjoining path leading to Tierney Street in the town.
A much talked about and long anticipated new community based CCTV scheme along the Riverside Walk is currently being examined by Louth County Council in conjunction with local Gardai. It is hoped that it will help monitor and deter such acts in the future.