Cork: City Councillor Calls For Hoodie Ban

19 Aug

COUNCILLORS in Cork city will be urged to support a motion calling on the Justice Minister to ban burkas and give gardaí the power to order youths to remove their hoodies.

The controversial motion, which will be debated in City Hall next month, is to be lodged by former lord mayor Joe O’Callaghan.

The Fine Gael councillor said burkas had been banned in France and Belgium and it was “high time” the Government here followed suit.

“It is an affront to women to have to be covered head to toe in a shroud in this day and age. I do not think it

is compatible with our modern society and it also gives rise to security issues,” said Mr O’Callaghan.

He said he would like to see a complete ban on the wearing of hoodies in light of the riots in England, where looters wore them to hide their identities.

He said: “I realise, however, that if it’s raining, hoodies are useful. But they are intimidating, especially to older people, and if youths have nothing to fear from the gardaí then they have no need to cover their faces.”

James Doorley, assistant director of the National Youth Council of Ireland, said the motion was “engaging in a populist, knee-jerk reaction” to the riots.

“This is a silly attempt to grab headlines. It is neither helpful nor useful. The vast majority of young people who wear hoodies are law-abiding. It’s a bit ridiculous. I know a lot of people in their 30s and 40s who wear them,” Mr Doorley said.

John Cunningham, chairman of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, also said the motion seemed to have arisen because of the riots.

“It seems surprising that the issue of the burka is being mentioned in this context by Cllr O’Callaghan.

“While the Immigrant Council of Ireland welcomes open and public discourse on issues of culture and diversity, the context and specifics of this motion is not hugely helpful in facilitating this discourse.”

However, Mahoud Shalada, vice-president of the Cork Muslim Society, said burkas — which cover a woman completely, apart from eye slits — were out of style with a modern state.

He said his wife wears the hijab, which covers the woman’s hair but not her face, and allows the wearer to be clearly identifiable.

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