Una Mullally: Peter Casey’s views on Travellers are embarrassing

We have a duty a voters to defy this kind of inflammatory politics at every turn

October 18th, 2018: Businessman Peter Casey visits the Thurles estate which has been a cause for dispute between the county council and local Travellers. Video: Kathleen Harris

Peter Casey is wasting our time. The presidential candidate has doubled down, refusing to apologise for his objectionable comments on Travellers, and is barrelling along despite his dire performance in the polls. Casey is currently running a cartoonish attack ad video online, complete with American accent voice-over, aimed at an apparent decrease in Michael D Higgins’s public appearances. If only we could see and hear less of Casey.

Casey’s latest rant, an article in the Sunday Independent, features a fantasy description of Ireland as a “welfare-dependent state” creating a “sense of entitlement that’s become unaffordable”. What aspect of welfare is he referring to, one wonders? In 2017 the total social welfare expenditure was just over €19.9 billion; 36.9 per cent was spent on pensions, by far the largest area of expenditure (the second-highest area of expenditure is illness, disability and caring, at 19.8 per cent). It’s a brave wannabe politician that rails against pensioners. How does Casey intend to combat this dastardly group in society – which he, at 61, is just five years away from joining? Cop on. 

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