A LOCAL councillor who attracted widespread criticism this week for comments that he would “like to see” those who took part in the Dublin riots “shot in the head” has now insisted that he “misspoke” and his comments were intended for the individual behind last Thursday’s (November 23) devastating knife attack in the capital and not the rioters.
Fianna Fáil councillor and Cathaoirleach of the Metropolitan District, Abul Kalam Azad Talukder, maintains he “misspoke” at this week’s full meeting of Limerick City and County Council, while unreservedly apologising for the remarks to both the public and his party.
The City West representative came under heavy criticism after comments made at this week’s full meeting of Limerick City and County Council, and reported by the Limerick Post, in which he said he would like to see those who took part in the riots in Dublin “shot in the head” and beaten “until they die”.
Now, Cllr Talukder has insisted that his emotionally charged comments were intended not for the rioters but the individual behind the knife attack on Parnell Square in Dublin on the same day, in which three children and a crèche worker were stabbed.
The Fianna Fáil councillor’s comments came in a meeting just a number of days after the November 23 riots, during which a number of elected local representatives were condemning the violent riots which took place throughout the capital.
Fine Gael councillor Adam Teskey, chairman of Limerick City and County Council’s (LCCC) Joint Policing Committee, called out the “thuggery” of rioters, while Cllr Talukder’s party colleague Cllr Kevin Sheahan said he was at a loss to understand why Gardaí didn’t perform a “baton charge” on the violent agitators.
Joining in the condemnation, Cllr Talukder said he believed the scenes were “not the face of Ireland”.
“Not even an animal does this kind of thing. It is very shameful and they should get public punishment.
“I’d like to see them shot in the head or bring the public in and beat them until they die,” Cllr Talukder told council members.
Cllr Talukder immediately withdrew the comments after Cllr Conor Sheehan pointed out that “you can’t call for people to be shot in the council chamber”.
In a statement posted to Facebook on Thursday evening (November 30), Cllr Talukder wrote:
“I would like to wholeheartedly, and unreservedly apologise to everyone for the statement made by me in the council meeting last Monday. I was very emotional and traumatised when I heard someone had stabbed a five-year-old child and was reacting to that and I misspoke. I did not mean to refer to the rioters but was speaking about someone who could stab a child. Even at that, I had difficulty expressing myself properly through English. As an elected councillor I should not have used the language I did, I should have been more careful with my words, and I am truly sorry.
“As my party headquarters has said, such use of words is totally unacceptable. I have apologised to party headquarters, and I apologise to the public. I understand that the party’s rules and procedures committee will be looking at this and I will of course fully engage and comply with the committee. I have much respect for the country and the council, and my apology is heartfelt.”
Earlier on Thursday, Fianna Fáil Minister of State Jack Chambers told Newstalk that the party was to “engage” with Cllr Talukder on his “totally inappropriate” comments.
Minister Chambers welcomed the fact that the councillor withdrew his comments immediately at the meeting.
When asked by the Limerick Post for a response to Cllr Talukder’s remarks and his current position within the party, a spokeswoman for Fianna Fáil said: “The comments of Councillor Abul Kalam Azad Talukder were totally inappropriate, unacceptable, and the Party utterly condemns them.”
“We have communicated the absolute unacceptability of the comments made and the Councillor fully accepts this.
“The matter has been referred to the Rules and Procedures Committee of the Ard Chomhairle.”
The Limerick Post contacted Cllr Talukder for comment on Thursday but none was received at time of publication.