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Racism 'a fact of everyday life' for migrants

New research has highlighted that immigrants in Ireland experience forms of racism every day.

Earlier this year the ICI campaigned to highlight the voting power of new Irish citizens, including Eva Pau, Dr Jasbir Singh Puri, Dr Lawrence Lee, Dr Theophilus Ejorh and Ali Selim.
Earlier this year the ICI campaigned to highlight the voting power of new Irish citizens, including Eva Pau, Dr Jasbir Singh Puri, Dr Lawrence Lee, Dr Theophilus Ejorh and Ali Selim.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

RACISM IS A fact of everyday life for many migrants in Ireland, new research has found.

There is an underlying racism within Irish society that condones and fails to challenge racist speech, according to the latest report by the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI).

Several respondents to the survey who had lived in other European countries remarked that racist speech in Ireland was “especially coarse”.

“This report illustrates very starkly the price being paid for our lack of consistent, effective and strong action against racism,” said ICI chief executive Denise Charlton. “We’re all guilty of turning a blind eye to racist incidents: think of how many times we have seen kids – or, indeed, adults – on a bus or the Luas taunting a driver or a ticket-inspector, and said nothing.”

The ICI report also shows that many who experience racist harassment, bullying or marginalisation at work do not seek support because they often feel disempowered and insecure.

There is a perception among migrants that they will not be treated fairly.

Racism at home

Another key finding of the report is the high incidence of racist harassment of families within their residential neighbourhoods by groups of minors. Such harassment has included damage to property and threatening behaviour.

The report, entitled Taking Racism Seriously: Migrants’ Experiences of Violence, Harassment and Anti-Social Behaviour in the Dublin Area, found that efforts to stop racist harassment and anti-social behaviour need to focus on perpetrators, as well as victims.

The researchers carried out interviews with three different focus groups which included Asian healthcare workers, black African bus drivers and Eastern European Luas revenue protection officers. Many of the participants are naturalised Irish citizens.

The ICI said, “While the number of participants in the research is small and by no means representative of the Irish population of migrant background, the message is clear; society needs to start taking this issue seriously.”

The researchers also worked with the Gardaí and it was clear from the interviews that some migrants believe authorities do not take the issue of racism seriously.

Download the full report here>

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