ALLEGATIONS OF RACISM DENIED IN FERMOY
Christopher Enogieru, one of the main organisers of events to celebrate Africa Day, claimed during an address in Rathcormac last Saturday that the African community were denied the right to use the youth hall in Fermoy for the event ‘on racial grounds’.
Mr Enogieru alleges that he was told by the manager of the youth centre on April 7 that a room would be available to host the events for Africa Day on May 24. He claims the manager (Mr Pat Hurley) checked his diary and that there was nothing pencilled in for that specific day and that he received reassurance that the room would be available for booking and was even asked if he wanted to pay a deposit.
Mr Enogieru claims that he said that he would wait to hear back from the Fermoy Town Council on whether they would support the event, and then get back to pay the deposit on the room. Mr Enogieru also claims that, upon his return to the youth centre on May 9, he was told that there was no booking made for May 24 and that the room wasn’t available. Mr
Enogieru alleges that Mr Hurley said the room was being used for the cinema matinee every Saturday and that he needed to talk to another management member and get back to him at a later date. He further states that Mr Hurley told him there would be a problem, as there had been complaints about the level of noise associated with previous African functions.
Allegedly on May 16, Mr Enogieru returned to the youth centre and was told he could not have the room or any other room, as they were not available between 12 noon – 4pm as requested by the organisers. With only one week to go until the actual celebrations for Africa Day, the community approached the rowing club, where they usually have a church service every Sunday morning in an effort to secure a room there.
Two days before the event, they claim to have been told, that they could not have a room there due to preparations for the Fermoy Regatta, which took place on Sunday last, May 25. The African community then, at the last minute, succeeded in locating an available room in Rathcormac village hall, where the event eventually went ahead, although the posters printed in advance for the occasion had listed the youth centre in Fermoy as the venue.
Pat Hurley of Fermoy Youth Centre confirmed to The Avondhu that he did meet Mr Enogieru on April 7, when, the latter paid a deposit on a booking made for Saturday, April 26 between 5pm-8.00pm. Mr Hurley claims that he doesn’t recall being specifically asked about the availability of a room for May 24 and denies that he made any booking for that day, as the room would not have been available between 12 noon and 4, due to a cinema matinee which is held every Saturday at 3pm.
The Avondhu, having gained access to the official diary of the youth centre where all the appointments logged as bookings are made, can confirm that a booking was logged for Saturday, April 26 between 5pm-8pm and there was a receipt for the deposit paid. However there was no booking logged for Saturday, May 24 between 12 noon and 4pm.
Mr Hurley stated that he couldn’t have booked that room due to the cinema matinee held every Saturday, and the others rooms were booked for other activities. Mr Hurley claims the next time he made contact with Mr Enogieru was after he saw a story in The Avondhu that puzzled him, which stated that the events for Africa Day were to be held at the youth centre on May 24, between 12 noon and 4pm.
He claims that he was confused by the details related in the article, as there was no booking for the youth centre for that specific day or time.
Mr Hurley also claims that Mr Enogieru used the word ‘biased’ when he addressed him and states emphatically that the decision was in no way racist or biased.
When contacted about the matter, Fermoy Garda Andrew Geary said: “If anyone has any allegations on racism, these should be notified to the gardai and a written complaint filed. They will be investigated and receive our full attention”.
Thursday 29th May 7:13pm