Eliminating racial discrimination

 

Sir, – Your recent article “Archbishop calls for Government to take action against racism” (News, October 10th) highlights the important role that migrants play in Ireland and how false information about immigration creates unfounded fear.

Recent European-wide research has shown that racism is gaining a foothold in Ireland and our rate for workplace racism is estimated at 33 per cent, compared to an EU average of 22 per cent.

These statistics should provide a stark warning for policymakers in this country who have, to date, failed to grasp the nettle in addressing racism in Ireland.

We are one of the most globalised countries in the world, heavily dependent on trade and multinational investment. International students play a large part in our higher education systems also, with some third-level institutions having up to 20 per cent international students.

We are very dependent economically on international investment and international students, but it is not sufficient to focus on the financial benefits and ignore the rights and wellbeing of our international partners.

The Government knows that it must do more to tackle racism; however it has dragged its heels on hate-crime legislation and missed deadlines for engagement with the United Nations on the Convention to Eliminate Racism.

In December, the UN will examine Ireland to see if it is meeting its legal obligations to eliminate racial discrimination and if that examination reflects this most recent study, we will no longer be able to hide from the fact that Ireland has a racism problem. Much of the Irish “brand” is based on the céad míle fáilte and it behooves us to treat this as more that just being a tag-line, but a core value in our treatment of our international guests and those who have chosen to make Ireland their home. – Yours, etc,

SARAH LENNON,

Executive Director,

Irish Council for

International Students,

Dublin 4 .