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Reader feedback: Irish worse than Slovaks

Re: "Agency aims at objective Roma issues reporting," by Dewey Smolka, Vol. 8 No. 30, August 12-18.

Ireland has worse race relations than Slovakia. There is increasing violence and discrimination towards Roma in Ireland. If anything, Slovakia is at least speaking about helping Roma.

In Ireland, problems with the Roma community are covered up for fear of frightening away tourism. Ireland is the richest country in western Europe. Yet the Roma who live in Ireland live under conditions similar to their brethren in Slovakia.

I feel that racism in Ireland is much worse than racism in Slovakia. In Ireland, many foreigners/refugees are treated with disdain and cruelty. At least in Slovakia, refugees are basically free to leave Slovakia if they wish.

Lastly, Irish people have greater hypocrisy towards their race relations than Slovak people. People like U2's 'Bono' campaign for food aid in Africa, yet Irish people seldom care about improving the lives of the Roma who live in Ireland. In Ireland, by the way, Roma are referred to as 'travellers'.

Ireland has a large amount of hypocrisy as well. The Irish love to speak of the famine and poverty that took place in their country. However, many are insensitive to the needs of the poor people who still live in Ireland.

I suggest that Slovak people ask questions of the Irish consulate about the traveller/Roma situation in Ireland. Slovakia is a poor country, yet Slovak people are tolerant and giving people. Ireland was once poor, yet Irish people have forgotten common decency with regards to human rights.

And just by the way, Slovak beer is better than Irish beer.

Sarah Connor

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