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Irish voters elect a black mayor

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A black man walking through Bridgeport, a heavily Irish neighborhood in Chicago, might well put his life at risk.

But in Ireland, it’s a different story.

Rotimi Adebari

Rotimi Adebari, a Nigerian who arrived in Ireland seven years ago as an asylum-seeker, recently was elected mayor of  Portlaoise, a bustling commuter town west of Dublin. Backed by both the right-wing Fine Gael party and left-wing Sinn Fein, Adebari is the first black man elected mayor in Ireland.

Adebari, 43, ran unopposed for the seat. He called his election a great honor.

Little more than a decade ago, a black person in Ireland risked being gawked at because they were so rare. But Ireland has absorbed more than 30,000 asylum seekers, particularly from Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria.

 

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