Irish singer Dermot Kennedy has been urged to apologise after using an offensive term usually aimed at members of the Travelling community during a live interview with the Canadian music channel Much.
The videos have since been deleted, but a group representing the Irish Travelling community has demanded an apology from the 31-year-old.
In the video, Kennedy was asked to explain common Irish slang, in which he used the word “knackered”, an expression used to express tiredness. He caveated that the shortened word was a “bad” term.
“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 said.
“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’.”
Dermot Kennedy using “K word” as a demonstration of ‘Irish Slang’ makes me feel so angry and nauseous.
Totally unacceptable ? @DermotKennedy reflect a bit on how this might make Travellers who have this term flung at them everyday might feel to hear you saying this
— Dr John Gilmore (@GilmoreJNurse) June 17, 2023
A knacker is described as “a person whose business is the disposal of dead or unwanted animals, especially those whose flesh is not fit for human consumption”, but has been used as a slur towards member of the travelling community.
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,” said Bernard Joyce.
“It’s completely unacceptable and gives offence to our community. 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 added:
“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.”