You do not have to be a member of people before profit to know that this is a big no-no. It is the rough equivalent of going to mass and publicly spitting out the host after communion. It is not against the law, or anything, but it is horrendously offensive:
The 'n-word' has been used in the Dáil chamber for the first time in 16 years – since the debates on the citizenship referendum – by @EamonRyan this lunchtime, quoting newspaper testimony from a young man feeling 'othered' because of his skin colour: pic.twitter.com/jL7xczC7mN
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) June 11, 2020
To be fair to Ryan here, it is not as if he was calling somebody the n-word. In fact, he was railing against its use. That is important context, and it should not be forgotten. He is not a racist, or anything like one, he is just very silly.
And of course, there might even be value, you could argue, to using it in this context. Because people these days find the word so shocking even when you use it to denounce its use, you could say that it brings home to the listener how awful the abuse he is speaking about was, more than say, using the euphemism “n-word” would.
So, it is hard not to feel some sympathy for him, given the avalanche of criticism and abuse soon to come his way.
But still. Come on.
The N-word might be the offensive combination of letters in the English language. It is utterly dehumanising, because the entire point of it was to refer to a class of people who were deemed to be less than fully human.
There is a reason why decent people don’t use it, even to condemn its use. Ryan had many avenues of language open to him to make clear his opposition to it, and his disgust at its use. He didn’t need to go down the road of using it himself. And facing into a Green Party leadership election, considering the kind of people who vote in Green Party leadership elections, probably wasn’t the best time to wheel out the n-word in the national parliament.
Oh well, not a resigning matter, or anything like that, just another incident, after the call to bring back wolves, and the desire to ban cars, and the watercress sandwich incident, of Eamon Ryan saying something utterly strange for no apparent reason.
But then, he’s not the first Green TD to use horrendously inappropriate language, is he?
Update: The act of contrition.
I made a speech in the Dáil today about the scourge of racism in our society. In quoting from an article I read this morning, I repeated a racial slur, and I was completely wrong to do so. I want to apologise for any hurt caused. I know this particular word should never be used.
— Eamon Ryan (@EamonRyan) June 11, 2020