Dermot Kennedy apologises after using Traveller community racial slur

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Dermot Kennedy has apologised to the Irish Traveller community after using a racial slur in an interview earlier this month.

The singer shared an Instagram story to apologise for the use of the term “knacker” in an interview with the Canadian music channel Much on June 10.

“I would like to apologise to the Irish Traveller Community for any offense caused when discussing Irish slang in a recent interview,” he wrote. “I was not referring to anyone specific, and I never mean to cause harm with the words I say, so I am sorry for any distress I caused.”

Dermot Kennedy Apology. Credit: Instagram
Dermot Kennedy Apology. Credit: Instagram

In a now deleted live interview, Kennedy was asked to share different examples of Irish slang. The singer mentioned the word  “knackered” and explained that the term is used to express tiredness.

He also went on to explain its connotation, saying: “If you call somebody a knacker that’s really bad, really bad, because the knacker is – to the best of my knowledge – is like a horse in the yard that is like dying.”

He continued: “But it’s like a classic thing… like if you were sitting at a table and someone took your food, you’d be like: ‘Ah, ya knacker’.”

Many people criticised Kennedy’s comments and described them as offensive due to the term being used as a slur towards members of the travelling community.

Irish society has grown so much in terms of not using racist terms due to the impact they have on marginalised communities.

Yet the term K*acker is used daily regardless how many times #IrishTravellers express our pain.

— 🏳️‍⚧️ Rose Marie Maughan 🏳️‍⚧️ (@Minceirbeoir) June 17, 2023

Bernard Joyce, the The director of the Irish Traveller Movement (ITM) called for an apology from the singer.

“[The ‘K word’] has been used in hate speech towards the Traveller community to degrade and humiliate. It’s completely unacceptable and gives offence to our community,” said Bernard Joyce.

He added: “Dermot Kennedy should give an apology recognising the hurt and pain this word has inflicted on our community with immediate effect.”

Human rights activist Rose Marie Maughan also expressed her disappointment on Twitter, writing: “Irish society has grown so much in terms of not using racist terms due to the impact they have on marginalised communities, yet the ‘K term’ is used daily regardless how many times Irish Travellers express our pain.

“He must now do the right thing and apologise to us, and in the future use his platform as an ally to us – calling for the end of the last accepted racism in Ireland.”

In other news, Kennedy is currently on tour in the US. He is set to head back to the UK and Ireland next month. Visit here for any last minute tickets.

Earlier this year, he was announced as the final headliner at All Points East 2023. The Irish singer will close out out the bash at Victoria Park on Sunday, August 27 alongside SG LewisOlivia DeanJames Vincent McMorrowNick Mulvey, Novo Amor, Moncrieff, Rachel Chinouriri and Áine Deane.<

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