Appeal for Black Lives Matter Tullamore protest to be called off

Ger Scully

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Ger Scully

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editor@tullamoretribune.ie

TT23456

A councillor has appealed to organisers of the protest to call it off in light of the Covid pandemic

AN appeal for a planned weekend Black Lives Matter solidarity protest in Tullamore to be called off in light of the Covid-19 crisis has been made.

Cllr Ken Smollen said while all agreed that what happened to George Floyd in the the U.S. was “completely wrong it would be totally inappropriate for us [the council] to keep quiet” about a protest during the Covid -19 pandemic.

Speaking at this evening's [Thursday] meeting of Tullamore Municipal District Clr Smollen proposed that the the council officially contact the organisers of the protest asking for it to be called off.

“We have been in lockdown for months and we don't want to be sent back to where we were,” he stressed.

Cllr Tony McCormack said it would be an “awful shame to see all the hard work put in by the people of Offaly staying in their homes and social distancing” being squandered.

He added that there were ways of protesting other than by organising a demonstration.

Director of Services, Tom Shanahan said he didn't think the council had a role to play as it was a matter for the Gardai.

Cathaoirleach Cllr Danny Owens said he presumed the matter had come to the attention of the Gardai and they would deal with anything untoward.

The demonstration is scheduled to take place this Saturday in O'Connor Square from 2pm to 3pm in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The event is being organised by local people and residents of the Tullamore Direct Provision centre in collaboration with the Movement for Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) and the Offaly Pro Equality Network (OPEN).

MASI is a non-profit grassroots organisation working and advocating for the right of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

OPEN was set up to ensure that everyone living in Offaly is welcomed and included.

Organisers say the demonstration will adhere strictly to social distancing guidelines and all those who wish to attend are asked to wear face masks and come prepared with hand sanitiser.

More information is available on the social media platforms of MASI and OPEN.