The number of reported hate crimes and other hate-related incidents notified to gardaí rose by 29 per cent last year, new figures show.
Data published by An Garda Síochána on Wednesday reveals 582 hate crimes and hate-related (non-crime) incidents were recorded in 2022. The figure for 2021 was 448.
Almost half (47 per cent) of hate-related incidents reported in 2022 occurred in the Dublin Metropolitan Region. The remaining incidents reported took place in the Southern Region (15 per cent), North-Western Region (20 per cent), while the Eastern Region recorded a figure of 18 per cent.
Garda policy is that reports of hate crimes or hate incidents are recorded and investigated “as appropriate, where it is perceived that the perpetrator’s hostility or prejudice against any person, community or institution is on the grounds of the victim’s age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender”.
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Some 617 discriminatory motives were recorded, up from a figure of 483 in 2021. The most prevalent discriminatory motive was race (32 per cent), followed by sexual orientation (22 per cent) and nationality (21 per cent).
Gardaí said hate motives were evident in a range of incidents last year. The largest percentage involved public order (30 per cent), minor assaults (20 per cent), assault causing harm (9 per cent) and criminal damage (8 per cent).
An Garda Síochána said it continued to invest in its network of diversity officers.
While it is disappointing that any incidents occur which have a hate-related motive, it is positive to see more victims coming forward to An Garda Síochána and reporting their experiences.— Assitant Commissioner Paula Hilman
Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, whose remit includes the Garda National Diversity and Integration Unit, said the force continued to have a strong focus on investigating crimes with a hate motive and supporting the victims of these crimes.
“An Garda Síochána recognises that hate crimes have a huge impact on victims, specifically because they are targeted because of a characteristic of who they are. These crimes also have a significant impact on wider communities and society,” she said.
“These statistics of incidents reported to An Garda Síochána in 2022 with a hate motive build on the baseline figures published for 2021. The level of reporting has increased overall.
“While it is disappointing that any incidents occur which have a hate-related motive, it is positive to see more victims coming forward to An Garda Síochána and reporting their experiences.”
She said we need as a community to consistently highlight and call out discrimination and hate where it occurs.
“I urge any person who has experienced or observed prejudice to come forward and report those incidents to us. I can assure people that complaints will be dealt with thoroughly and professionally.”
Case studies included a man jailed for three months in the District Court after gardaí witnessed him being involved in homophobic abuse and public-order offences.
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In another case, a young black shop worker was forcibly shouldered out of the way by a male customer in his 20s. The man was convicted of the offence in the District Court and received a 10-month suspended sentence.
The Garda said it had 481 diversity officers across the organisation. Last year it implemented a hate crime e-learning programme developed in conjunction with NGOs, which has been completed by 83.2 per cent of all Garda members.
It added An Garda Síochána, in conjunction with the University of Limerick, has continued to facilitate Garda members and staff participating in the Policing and Human Rights Law in Ireland Level Eight Certificate programme. More than 2,000 Garda personnel at all ranks and grades have completed and been awarded this certificate.