Una Mullally: Racism is endemic in Ireland but the young have had enough

The need to end this cruel and inhuman direct provision system is being called out

People at a Black Lives Matter protest rally outside the US embassy in Dublin on Monday, June 1st. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

People at a Black Lives Matter protest rally outside the US embassy in Dublin on Monday, June 1st. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Space is often carved out in the aftermath of an unexpected explosion. Sadly, tipping points of social change tend to be instigated by tragedy, and the accumulation of tragedies before them, until a certain atmosphere coalesces. What we saw in Ireland last week was a tipping point, a profound shift – generational, social, cultural – that culminated in perhaps the largest ever moment of solidarity against racial injustice here. As well as smaller protests around the country, two large demonstrations in Dublin on Monday and Saturday have changed the game. The bravery and leadership of young people of colour in Ireland has brought our country’s issues of racial injustice to the fore.

In the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protest in Dublin on Monday, there was a discussion about public health. This was indeed an extraordinary situation. In the middle of a pandemic, people had gathered to protest in large numbers, something that is technically against regulations.

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