Pavee Point: Clifford-Lee apology 'sincere and heartfelt'

Pavee Point: Clifford-Lee apology 'sincere and heartfelt'
Director of Pavee Point Martin Collins, file photo

The director of Pavee Point, Martin Collins has described the apology by Senator Lorraine Clifford Lee as “sincere and heartfelt”.

She had acknowledged the “huge hurt and offence” that she had caused with her tweets, he told RTÉ Radio’s News at One.

On Friday morning Mr Collins and two colleagues met with the Senator after she sought a face to face meeting to offer her apology.

Other politicians need to also acknowledge the offence they have caused with comments, added Mr Collins.

Many politicians from various political parties have made atrocious and outrageous comments about Travellers in the past, but they didn’t apologise and dug their heels in.

“Lorraine Clifford-Lee took a more positive approach, she put her hands up and acknowledged that she did wrong.”

Mr Collins said he feared a rise in right wing populism, not just against his community, but also against Nigerians and those on direct provision. He also expressed concern that the next general election could be “toxic.”

It is incumbent on the main stream political parties to be vigilant and to ensure that their representatives do not get involved in racist comments.

He said he was convinced that there are some politicians who make a calculated effort to increase their vote by articulating racist sentiment. They need to be reined in and held to account, he said.

People should not encourage “reckless rhetoric.”

Senator Clifford Lee said she understood the impact and offence that the comments had caused, “for which I am truly sorry".

"It was a long time ago. We all evolve as people. I am now a mother. I have educated myself about minority issues."

The senator went on to say: "Martin and his colleagues accepted (that) apology, I hope some other people will accept the apology, there'll always be people that won't accept that.

"I'm looking to make amends and I'm going to be working with Martin and his colleagues to see how we can help his community going forward."

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