Migrants face discrimination and assault, report finds

Immigrant Council of Ireland interviews young men on their experiences in Republic

An  Immigrant Council of Ireland anti-racism campaign. Photograph: Immigrant Council of Ireland website

An Immigrant Council of Ireland anti-racism campaign. Photograph: Immigrant Council of Ireland website


Discrimination, stereotyping and assaults were among the issues reported by a panel of young migrant men interviewed about their experiences in Ireland.

A report by the Immigrant Council of Ireland found that “several” of the 40 young men spoken to had expressed bitterness at what they believed to be discriminatory treatment.

This treatment was arising in schools, workplaces and on the street, with some of the men saying they felt they had been unfairly targeted by authorities including An Garda Síochána.

Some respondents reported verbal abuse, such as schoolmates and strangers telling them to “go back to your own country”.

In one instance, a young Muslim man reported being the subject of racist jokes, including being asked if he had “a bomb in his bag”.

Others said they were subjected to physical assaults, with one reporting being burned with a cigarette by a group of teenagers.

One focus group interviewed as part of the research “felt strongly . . . the gardaí take a nonconfrontational approach and do not challenge local families whose children cause trouble in disadvantaged areas”.


One person reported being denied a place in a sports club which he knew was seeking new recruits.

When it came to employment opportunities, a number of interviewees said they had found their recruitment process straightforward and fair at all stages.

However, others expressed frustration at the difficulty in finding employment, which they felt was particularly difficult for young people and even more so for young migrants.

One African man said he had been rejected for a job and told: “We don’t hire black people here.”

Another claimed that anglicising his name had led to his securing job interviews.

The report made several recommendations, including:

- After-school support for migrant pupils from non-English speaking backgrounds;

- An effort to recruit more migrant teachers;

- Changes at third-level which would allow migrant students access to student grants and free fees based on residency as opposed to nationality;

- The provision of diversity and anti-racism training to sports clubs and other organisations, including the extension of such training to all departments of An Garda Síochána;

- Comprehensive reform of the immigration registration system/asylum system;

- A complaints system for those who experience discrimination in accessing public services, and;

- Statutory permanent residence status for under-16s.

The Voices of Young Migrant Men report was part of a wider Migrant Men’s Well-Being in Diversity (MiMen) project funded by the European Commission and carried out in seven EU countries including Ireland.