Coveney expects to talk to US ambassador on violence

Tanaiste Simon Coveney expects to speak to the US ambassador here about the violence in US cities, as Irish people are “disturbed” by the violence there.
Coveney expects to talk to US ambassador on violence
Tanaiste Simon Coveney has said that the Irish Government wanted to see peaceful protests in the US and that leadership was needed at a political level

Tanaiste Simon Coveney expects to speak to the US ambassador here about the violence in US cities, as Irish people are “disturbed” by the violence there.

He said many Irish people were "shocked” and by the images coming of the US during protests against police brutality following the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed, handcuffed black man, last week.

He said the Government wanted to see peaceful protests and that leadership was needed at a political level.

George Floyd's funeral is due to take place next week. Tens of thousands of people have protested for in all 50 US states since his death on May 25.

Pope Francis and the Taoiseach among others have issued calls for racism not to be ignored.

Police and US city authorities have clashed with demonstrators, and thousands have been injured by rubber bullets, tear gas, and Tasers, while police have driven cars into crowds of protesters. Thousands of people have been arrested,.

Speaking in the Dail, the foreign affairs minister said Ireland was disturbed by the images coming out of the US and there was a need for “leadership at a political and community level".

The undercurrent of anger and discontent around racism and discrimination had “created a huge wave of protest across” US cities, Mr Coveney told the Dail.

TDs from across parties highlighted the death of Mr Floyd with many, from Fianna Fail and the Greens included, saying Ireland needed to "show solidarity".

“It is not enough to play lip service, where we see racism we must call it out,” said Green Wicklow TD Steven Mathews.

Fianna Fail MEP Barry Andrews has already called for the Government to haul in the US ambassador to criticise the response by US president Donald Trump to protests. Independent MEP Clare Daly says the ambassador should be expelled from Ireland.

Mr Coveney told Labour TD Brendan Howlin that he would “likely” speak with US ambassador Edward Crawford in days ahead over the issue.  He confirmed that there would be a comprehensive debate on racism in the Dail next week.

On Brexit, he said EU and Irish negotiators would not let trade talks with the UK be split up into parts. He said the Brexit trade talks with the UK on fisheries would get very difficult.

He said he did not expect a "breakthrough" in the trade talks this summer or that there would not be an extension of the Brexit transition period.

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