Jack Quann
Jack Quann

19.40 11 Apr 2019


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Former presidential candidate Peter Casey is to run in the upcoming European Parliament elections.

The businessman has handed in his nomination papers for the Midlands-North West constituency.

In a tweet, Mr Casey said: "My campaign trail for Europe has officially begun across the Midlands-North West!

"I want to empower communities and give a voice to locals in Europe."

He came second to President Michael D Higgins in the 2018 presidential election, with 23.4% of the vote.

His comments that Travellers should not be given ethnic status angered many during the campaign.

But he did not accept that he stoked anti-Traveller sentiment.

"I believe it's very important that we are now a society that doesn't discriminate against any person under race, nationality, ethnicity, religion" - referring to his own childhood in Derry.

"When I grew up in Derry you were discriminated against, and they knew you were Catholic because you lived in that area - they knew you were Catholic because your name began with a Saint".

On his Traveller comments, he said: "I just simply brought to the fore something that was there already".

When asked if his comments were wrong, he claimed: "No. There is absolutely no difference in my DNA and a Traveller's DNA.

"I don't think they are a different ethnic group."

As part of a series of reports for The Pat Kenny Show earlier this year, Mr Casey visited a halting site in Dublin to witness the conditions Travellers live in first-hand.

He explained that if people voted for him "because they thought I was a racist or they voted on me as against Travellers... then they voted for the wrong person, and they should change their vote".

He added: "I have never had a bad experience with a Traveller, ever.

"I was more surprised than you were with the reaction.

"There's a very small percentage of Travellers that are giving the Travellers a bad name, and the leadership of the Traveller community should step up."

Voters will go to the polls to elect 11 Irish MEPs on Friday May 24th.


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