Racism still prevalent in Ireland

Racism seems to be an ongoing, unreported, issue due to the influx of foreign nationals over the past decade. Image by: Machine Made
Racism seems to be an ongoing, unreported, issue due to the influx of foreign nationals over the past decade. Image by: Machine Made

According to a recent report racism is rampant in Ireland, with very few cases going reported.

The report was conducted by Dr Patricia Kennedy, of the School of Applied Social Science in UCD, and states that 60 percent of foreign people in this country have encountered racism.

An Garda Síochána Press & Public Relations Officer, Duty Sergeant Damian Hogan stressed that  “All matters relating to racism should be reported to An Garda Síochána”.

He also noted that An Garda Síochána has a designated unit for dealing with racism at their Racial and Intercultural Office, which is located on Harcourt Street.

The Racial and Intercultural Office is deemed to be responsible within An Garda Síochána for the development and monitoring of the implementation of organisational policies and strategies, which deal with racial, ethnic, religious and cultural diversity.

The office received a thirty thousand Euros innovation prize by the European Commission in recognition of work already undertaken by the Garda organisation in raising awareness around racism and related issues.

“I have been abused cycling through the city centre,” said Donatas Okafor, a Nigerian national, who came to Ireland in 2006.

“I have had people drive by making monkey chants and stuff,” explained Donatas.

When asked if he any of these incidents were ever reported Donatas replied; “No. I don’t have the time to be going through the effort of dealing with reports. I just get on with life”.

Donatas did have some positive experiences to share about his time in Ireland: “I have lived in many countries over the years; England, Thailand, China, South Africa and Ireland is definitely the nicest of them to live in. There has been some isolated incidents but overall I would say Ireland is the least racist country I have lived in”.

It seems that people of colour may encounter racism more than other foreign nationals. Hungarian national Katalin Takacs said, “I have never been racially abused but I have seen Luas staff abused over the colour of their skin and being told ‘go back to your country”.

Katalin, who has lived in Ireland for the past 7 years, explained further, “I think people are angry over the economy and that state of the country and black people just seem to be an easy target for these people. It’s sad”.

Paul Zhang and Anna Slugacz, who have been in Ireland for the past eleven and 7 years respectively, have never encountered racist events.

“No one has ever been racist to me, or any of my friends thankfully,” said Anna. “I really like working in Ireland and at times you think that maybe some people think bad things about you, but no one has ever actually said anything”.

Paul found some humour in an otherwise serious issue saying, “Ireland loves Chinese food, so that might be why me and my friends haven’t been abused. Thanks to our food”.

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