- 21 Jun 23
"I am sorry for any distress I caused," he posted on Instagram.
Dublin singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy has apologised after he discussed a derogatory term used to describe the Traveller community during an interview.
Speaking to Canadian TV music channel Much, in the now-deleted clip, the musician was asked to share some examples of Irish slang words.
Kennedy was speaking to a live audience in a video that was shared online by the music channel, when he used a derogatory slur against Travellers in Ireland in the discussion.
"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 k*****r'," he said, after first using the word to explain a form of tiredness.
Writing on his Instagram stories on Tuesday, Kennedy said: "I would like to apologise to the Irish Traveller Community for any offence caused when discussing Irish slang in a recent interview."
He continued: "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've caused."
Kennedy's remarks were seen as offensive due to the term's usually-negative, or hostile, meaning when used to describe members of the Traveller community.
“[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,” Bernard Joyce, director of the Irish Traveller Movement (ITM), said.
Human rights activist Rose Marie Maughan also added her thoughts: “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."
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
Senator Eileen Flynn told The Hard Shoulder she “absolutely admires” Dermot Kennedy and thinks he is a “good role model for men.”
“He's an ordinary working-class man who made something of himself and a good representative of the country,” she said, describing his comments as "foolish".
“I don’t think he was thinking”, she said. “I don’t think he meant harm by it, but it shows how normalised it is to be racist to the Traveller community.”
Kennedy is currently on tour in the US, but is due to arrive back in Ireland shortly.
Dermot Kennedy is set to play Marlay Park in Dublin on this Friday and Saturday, June 23-24.