Call to make details of Roma meeting public

A BUSINESSWOMAN who displayed photographs of Roma women in her shop after a spate of shoplifting has called for the details of a meeting with the ethnic group to be made public.

Joan Lucey, who owns Vibes and Scribes in Cork city, said: “People have an expectation that the problem will be tackled now that it has been highlighted.”

She was speaking after a meeting on Monday between key members of the city’s Roma community, a group which works with immigrants, and Gardaí.

The meeting was arranged by the Cork City Partnership, a local development company which promotes social and economic inclusion, after Ms Lucey, who claims her shop was targeted by women wearing traditional Roma dress, displayed four large A4-sized colour photographs of members of the Roma community under the word “beware”.

She claimed members of the group were involved in alleged shoplifting, and had intimidated her staff.

Her actions were supported by the Cork Business Association.

But the move was criticised by the Cork Anti Racism Network, which described it as “racial profiling”.

NASC, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre, said the photographs and caption implied that the Roma group was dangerous.

The Cork City Partnership was not able to provide a spokesperson to comment on the details of Monday’s meeting when contacted last night. Ms Lucey said she wants to find a resolution to the problem.

“I would like to know what happened at the meeting, and whether there was any progress,” she said.

“I want a resolution to this and I am not alone. I’ve had a lot of support, not just from Cork, but from Dublin too, in the last few days from other business people who faced similar situations.”

Meanwhile, NASC has launched a survey to gauge how Cork people feel about living in a multi-cultural city. NASC said the information will help guide planners in deciding how better services should be provided in the city.

The survey link can be found on the NASC, The Cork Integration Forum and Cois Tine websites.

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