Racist incidents double in year, says immigrant council

Figures show 120 incidents of racism were dealt with in the past 12 months

Chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland Denise Charlton said there were a number of “alarming” aspects to the figures.  “It is clear that racism takes many forms with people reporting verbal harassment, discrimination and written harassment as the most common,”

Chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland Denise Charlton said there were a number of “alarming” aspects to the figures. “It is clear that racism takes many forms with people reporting verbal harassment, discrimination and written harassment as the most common,”

 

 

Reported incidents of racism in the Republic have more than doubled in the past 12 months, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

Figures being released by the council today show 120 incidents of racism were dealt with in the past 12 months and almost 12 per cent of those involved some form of physical violence.

Communications and advocacy manager for the council Jerry O’Connor said this compared to about 50 reported incidents in previous years.

The increase is due to a surge in the number of cases reported in recent months, with 23 in June and 29 last month. This compares to three cases reported in July 2012.

Those with an African background are most likely to be victims of such attacks, while the majority of those inflicting racism were Irish.

Chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland Denise Charlton said there were a number of “alarming” aspects to the figures.

‘Shocking’

“It is clear that racism takes many forms with people reporting verbal harassment, discrimination and written harassment as the most common,” she said.

“However, it is particularly shocking that physical violence and the threat of physical violence is so prevalent in a society which prides itself on being open, fair and just for all.”

Ms Charlton added that the issue of cyber racism has come to the fore in recent months as the number of reported incidents continued to grow. Almost 17 per cent of all cases were related to online racism.

The council called for Ireland to ratify a European convention which seeks to criminalise online acts of racism and xenophobia, including the production and distribution of offensive material.

“A delay of over a decade in ratifying is leaving people open to online abuse and bullying,” Ms Charlton added. “Racism is unacceptable in every form and the internet should not be a place where bullies can use anonymity to spread their messages of hate.”

Offensive material

One case study outlined in the report involved a woman who was allegedly forced to the ground and beaten by a gang of girls. She claimed witnesses walked by without helping as her attackers kicked her in the stomach repeatedly.

Another woman, who claimed she had a miscarriage as a result of stress caused by racist behaviour towards her and her family, said the walls of her home had been covered with Nazi symbols, images of hangmen and racist slogans. She claimed death threats had also been made against her family.

Additional reporting: PA