Racial bias, Irish-style: ‘Everywhere I turned was like a brick wall’
Aderemi Abdioye changed his name after years of applying for ‘every job possible’
Aderemi Abioye says he still faces discrimination.
Having spent years applying to “every job possible”, Aderemi resigned to fate and set up his own business under his new “de-Africanised” name.
“I do not want to change my identity, but I need to be able to provide for my children,” he said.
“I was trying so desperately to get a job but everywhere I turned was like a brick wall.”
Social benefits is like a prison
Despite having a diploma in accounting from Nigeria, as well as two technical production diplomas from Dún Laoghaire College of Further Education, Aderemi worked in nightclub toilets for no wage, living only off tips.
“I walked out of the social benefits office twice. I said ‘I am strong, I am hard working, I am qualified.’ Social benefits is like a prison.”
After setting up his video production company, he says he still faces discrimination.
“There are those people who want to put you down and make you feel inferior, but you have to rise above it.
People need to give everyone a chance. Nobody should be judged because of their race
“I don’t want my children to face the same problems I have. They have brains and they can be a part of this society.”
Aderemi’s company has offered more than 20 internships to people of all backgrounds.
“People need to give everyone a chance. Nobody should be judged because of their race. When people are ostracized or rejected, some of them will turn to crime or end up in prison. No one is born in prison.
“African people have been accused of coming to Ireland to live off benefits, but it is not our lifestyle. We just want to work to pay for our families. We want to give back to the society that has welcomed us here.”