Outrage as 'N' word used by councillor

Cllr Des Guckian refuses to withdraw "unacceptable" remarks

Donal O'Grady

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Donal O'Grady

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news@leitrimobserver.ie

Outrage as 'N' word used by councillor

Cllr Des Guckian

Councillors expressed their outrage at the Carrick-on-Shannon Municipal meeting last Monday when Cllr Des Guckian twice used the 'N' word when referring to people in Leitrim being treated as second class citizens.

There was uproar at the meeting as Cllr Guckian refused to withdraw his remarks which were made in relation to  surfacing and repairs not being carried out on byroads and lanes in the county.

The Independent councillor was not happy with the response he received to his motion and stated that there is no such thing as a second class citizen in Leitrim.

“We are certainly not n****rs like in the eyes of the south of the United States, that is long gone,” he said.

Cathaoirleach, Cllr Seadhna Logan said Cllr Guckian had used a racial slur.

“You are remarkably sensitive. It's a total red herring. The reality is that in the US in 1964 n****rs were totally discriminated against,” Cllr Guckian replied.

Cllr Logan said his comments were unacceptable and he should withdraw them. Cllr Guckian refused.

Cllr Guckian had proposed a survey be carried out in the municipal district to discover the lanes and by-roads that are most in need of urgent repair/surfacing and that a programme be put in place to ensure the twenty most deserving be surfaced in 2018.

He was told that the Restoration Improvement Programme for 2018 has already been approved by the members. The final approval for roads to be surfaced next year will be agreed after the funding is announced in the new year.

This led Cllr Guckian to accuse the Council of “giving me the push off” and he then went on to make his comments about there being no second class citizens in Leitrim.

He said that he was willing to  take his protest further.  

“If I have to sit out here in a camp for a month, I will do that,” he said, before making further comment and using  the 'N' word.

Cathaoirleach, Cllr Logan disassociated himself from the remarks made by Cllr Guckian and was accused of being “remarkably sensitive.”

Cllr Sinead Guckian stated, “This is appalling on so many levels.”

Cllr Logan agreed and asked Cllr Des Guckian to withdraw his “unacceptable remarks.”  Cllr Guckian refused and said, “This is exactly what those black, coloured people in the US were called and I'm saying we are not that.”

Cllr Sinead Guckian said his remarks were not acceptable in the Council Chamber or under the code of ethics for councillors.

Cllr Logan said to Cllr Des Guckian, “You have repeatedly used racist words.  The minutes will reflect that and on your head be it.”

Senior Engineer, Roads, Shay O’Connor, told the meeting that the budget has been approved but they will endeavour to do as much as they can.

Cllr Des Guckian accused the Council of discriminating against ordinary people who are suffering enough.

“I want it noted that I am not at all happy with that reply,” he said.

Cllr Logan concluded the matter by saying, “We disassociate ourselves fully with the remarks you made.”