A horse which was drowned on the River Nore has sparked outrage and debate on horse welfare in Kilkenny city and county,.
The Kilkenny Traveller Community Movement have slammed 'an outpouring of racism, bigotry and hate speech' following a number of incidents of animal cruelty across the city and county in recent weeks.
Bernard Power issued a statement to the Kilkenny People on behalf of the Kilkenny Traveller Community Movement (KTCM).
"In the KTCM we do not in any way condone acts of cruelty towards animals in our community, our city, our county or our country. Each act of cruelty, whoever commits it, should be investigated by the appropriate authorities and prosecuted where the evidence is available. The incidents in question are now being investigated and we in the KTCM are supporting this process through high levels of cooperation with the various agencies involved. Post mortem results have yet to be released.
"The highlighting of these incidents has resulted in, among other things, a call for protests and an outpouring of racism, bigotry and hate speech. It is always the way when any issue in which a traveller is suspected of a crime makes it into the media. As if an action by one traveller is an action by every traveller. The same does not apply to people in the settled community. Many people will remember the highlighting of the abuse uncovered on a farm in Co Carlow. Abuse, neglect and death were uncovered. Was the entire settled community blamed? No. Were all farmers blamed? No. Was the farmer involved blamed? Yes. As is right.
"But when a traveller is involved, each and every one of us is accused of the crime, in language that is racist and hate filled. There have been statements on social media this week calling for all travellers to be drowned at birth," added Mr Power.
"Why is the Mayor of Kilkenny not coming out, on behalf of all his citizens, and rejecting the use of this kind of language? There have been comments on all sorts of platforms, suggesting among other things that travellers should not be allowed to have children, let alone animals. Yet there is no response to this level of racism from our public representatives. This is a community divided and it would appear to us that we are on the outside looking in. Racism in any form is unacceptable. Why is it allowed when it is racism against travellers?," he concluded.