Two TDs have been told to "wake up and smell the coffee" after declaring that "all lives matter" during Dáil statements on combatting racism.
Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae and Cork South-West TD Michael Collins each used the phrase today, which has been used in debates related to the Black Lives Matter movement, earning a rebuke from the Irish Network Against Racism (INAR).
Deputy Healy-Rae said:
"The youngsters at home pointed out to me that black lives matter. We believe that all lives matter.
Even the small unborn babies that we fought so hard for in this Chamber also matter.
"All people all around the world, whatever nationality and whatever colour they are, they all matter. We all agree with that."
Mr Collins said that the phrase was his "mantra".
"My mantra in life has always been that all lives matter, from the unborn baby in the womb, to the man and woman on the street, black or white. All lives matter. Dignity, respect and a little bit of humanity would go a long way in this Covid-19 world we all find ourselves in."
INAR's Shane O'Curry told The Irish Examiner that the phrase has been used to delegitimise the Black Lives Matter movement, which has seen protests across the globe in recent weeks, sparked by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
"I find it hard to believe that at this stage in the debate, anybody doesn't understand what the true meaning of that statement is.
"That statement is used time and again to undermine Black Lives Matter.
"The reason we say Black Lives Matter now is that we live in a culture and arrangement in which black lives, unfortunately, don't count as much as white lives. So it's necessary to say that Black Lives Matter.
"That's why there's a global movement. And Deputies Healy Rae and Collins really need to wake up and smell the coffee because their comments will only embolden people who want to deny the rights of black people as equals."
Earlier in the statements, People Before Profit Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett said that it was necessary to say that black lives are equal.
"One is asked what it has to do with us and told that surely all lives matter. Of course, what that sentiment fails to recognise, sometimes deliberately, is that it is precisely because all lives matter that we must declare solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
"The death of George Floyd could only happen in a society in which some people believe that the lives of black people and other people of colour do not matter."