Mayor says Ennis not a racist town

Thu, Jan 12, 2012, 00:00

THE MAYOR of Ennis has said the town has suffered and has been portrayed as a racist town after the assault on Nigerian taxi driver Bartholomew Omoifo.

At the January meeting of Ennis Town Council, mayor Michael Guilfoyle (Ind) said the media “blew out of the water” the assault on Mr Omoifo. Last week at Ennis District Court, Azriel Higgins (26), of Creggaun, Tobarteascáin, Ennis, was jailed for nine months for the assault on the 36-year-old driver in June 2010.

Mr Omoifo told the court Higgins called him a “bastard nigger” before head-butting him, knocking out his two front teeth.

At the council meeting, Mr Guilfoyle said: “None of us would support the assault on any person and one blow is too many, but by the time the media got hold of the assault on this man, it turned out to be a lot worse than it was.” He added: “The person who assaulted the man had his own problems.”

He said Ennis has suffered because it was portrayed as a racist town, a very unfriendly town and “we are not that type of town”.

Councillor Frankie Neylon (Ind) told the meeting that he “would like to apologise to that gentleman who was supposedly attacked”. However, after the meeting, Mr Neylon confirmed he accepted Mr Omoifo was the subject of an assault. The councillors made their comments in response to a call from Councillor Brian Meaney (Green) to condemn the attack.