Jewish buildings hit by graffiti attacks

 

Anti-racism groups yesterday expressed concern at a recent rise in anti-Semitic graffiti outside buildings of importance to the Jewish community.

Some of the most recent incidents include Nazi symbols being daubed on the Irish-Jewish Museum on Dublin's Walworth Road and outside a synagogue in Terenure.

The Jewish Representative Council of Ireland has also received a number of anti-Semitic e-mails recently.

Insp Mary Gormley of the Garda's Racial and Intercultural Office yesterday said the force was aware of the incidents and was investigating them. "We're in contact with the Jewish community. These incidents are being investigated and taken seriously," Insp Gormley said.

The National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI), an advisory body to the Government, yesterday expressed concern at the rise in incidents. Philip Watt of the NCCRI said it was aware of at least 10 incidents since November, some of which have occurred in recent days.

"It's very worrying and it seems to be quite calculated. The Jewish community in Ireland is a small and vulnerable one. We're offering whatever help and support that we can," Mr Watt said.

Lynne Jackson, a member of the Jewish community, said such anti-Semitic incidents were motivated by the same hate which had brought about the Holocaust.

She said the best way to deal with such incidents was through enforcing the law, educating people and encouraging values such as respect and tolerance for different communities in the schools system. The gardaí had been particularly helpful to the community, she added.

The NCCRI compiles a list of racially motivated incidents reported by ethnic minorities. On average it receives reports of around 100 incidents every year.

The overall number of incidents has been falling, but has tended to rise around the time of elections, figures show.

Meanwhile, an advice book for victims of racism was launched by the NCCRI yesterday in conjunction with Northern Ireland's Equality Commission.

The booklet offers practical advice on where to make complaints regarding racism and includes contact details for the gardaí and PSNI.

The launch is the first of a series of events due to take place this week to mark European Week Against Racism.

A conference will take place tomorrow in Croke Park focusing on the implementation of the recently published National Action Plan Against Racism.