Limerick local elections candidate will not be put off by racist abuse on campaign trail

Campaigners for Suzzie O'Deniyi were verbally attacked in footage which shared widely online.

FIANNA Fáil local election hopeful Suzzie O’Deniyi is not letting the racist abuse experienced by her team of canvassers in the city last weekend deter her.

Ms O’Deniyi, who is hoping to make history as the first black woman to be elected to Limerick’s Metropolitan and Municipal Districts, says that, if anything, the experience has empowered her to continue her campaign – despite being left feeling traumatised from the incident.

The healthcare professional, who is vying for a seat in Limerick City North, was campaigning with her team in Caherdavin when the shocking incident occurred.

Four of Suzzie’s canvassers were in Clareview on Sunday May 12 when they were subjected to racist, sexual, and misogynistic abuse by a man walking with his dogs.

The man recorded Suzzie’s team during his verbal tirade before later posting the video on social media. The footage of the incident has since gone viral.

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The Fianna Fáil candidate told the Limerick Post that she was campaigning on a nearby street at the time of the incident.

Ms O’Deniyi, whose parents are from Nigeria, told this newspaper that the racist attack had a significant impact on all her team members. However, she has chosen to use it as a catalyst for change and continues to get out and campaign around City North for a council seat.

“We are back out campaigning, but it was very disheartening. This is not the warm Limerick welcome that we know. Some of my team came from Galway to canvass with me, so it was very disappointing,” she said.

“The man who abused my team wasn’t even from the area. He was just passing at the time and started to abuse them. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable and we must continue to send out a strong message that it will not be tolerated.”

A former pupil of Scoil Mháithar Dé primary school and Scoil Carmel secondary school, Suzzie says she hopes to bring her passion for mental health and suicide prevention, enhanced care supports for older people and those with disabilities, recreational initiatives, and much more to the role if elected on June 7 next.

She has expressed thanks for the many messages of support she has received since the incident and said that, overall, people on the doorsteps have been very welcoming and engaging when her team meets them on the campaign trail.

“Some people might not want to speak to you, but most are engaging and happy to talk to you about the issues. I have not experienced this kind of racist behaviour before and it will not deter me, if anything it has empowered me,” she concluded.