Robinson says racism and famine still cause for concern

 

Former president Mary Robinson has warned that famine, as depicted in Irish writer Tom Murphy's play of the same name, is still a very real international issue, due to rising food prices and a rising global population.

Mrs Robinson has also expressed concern about growing racism in Europe, which she described as one of the "scourges of human rights". Speaking at a Galway Arts Festival public interview last night with Irish Times literary editor Fintan O'Toole, Mrs Robinson said that climate change was not a future threat but was "occurring right now" in parts of Africa. Fossil fuel lobbies were "feeding bad science" supporting climate change denial, she said, and she had been "very disappointed" with the agreed text at the recent Rio+20 climate change summit. However, she expressed optimism that humans were not "entirely stupid" on the issue. Mrs Robinson said she could not comment on Irish affairs, but she hoped that the forthcoming children's referendum would be "good and thoughtful".