Traveller support group Pavee Point has lodged an official complaint over a Facebook page based in Waterford which demands the removal of Roma people from the city.
The Get Them Out Of Town page attracted the attention of Pavee Point and other anti-racism groups yesterday, by which time the page had already received more than 700 ‘likes’.
In one post earlier this week the page suggested: “Maybe a small protest on Manor Street might get the attention of the gardaí. There’s a open space with benches and grass where beggers [sic] and pick pockets like to hang around and watch there [sic] victims go by.”
A number of people posting on the page criticised it as racist, while others posted anti-Roma comments.
Pavee Point urged people on Twitter to report the page as being in contravention of Facebook’s own community standards, and then reported just before 11am: “ ‘Get Them Out of Town’ successfully removed by Facebook. We are aware of a back-up being generated. Will update.”
Despite being reported to Facebook for alleged racism and incitement to hatred, a fresh version of the page under a new name appeared within minutes.
Aisling Twomey, communications officer with Pavee Point, said that the pages had been reported to gardaí by local groups and to Facebook. She said that some of the people who posted racist or inciteful comments on the pages could also find themselves reported.
Regarding the number of Roma living in Waterford City, Ms Twomey said: “It seems to be a relatively small number of Roma and they seem to be particularly destitute.”
This week, the chief commissioner-designate of the new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, Emily Logan, said that the Roma community was an example of one community which had “no idea” that human rights existed and that they were entitled to seek and obtain certain rights and entitlements.
During her time as Ombudsman for Children, Ms Logan conducted an investigation into the wrongful removal from their families of two Roma children by gardaí on the mistaken assumption that they had been abducted.
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