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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 21 November, 2019
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'He called my son a monkey and black b****rd': Rise in reports of racist incidents

In one reported incident, children were sprayed with bleach by other kids in their neighbourhood.

Image: child hand image via Shutterstock

THERE WAS AN increase in racist incidents flagged with an NGO in the first six months of this year, with higher levels of violence, threats and discrimination in public spaces reported.

The European Network Against Racism Ireland (Enar) host a website, iReport.ie, which allows victims and members of the public who witness racism, to report it confidentially. Today the organisation said there was a significantly higher level of reporting in this six month period than all previously recorded periods.

A total of 190 reports were received during that period, with assault appearing in 22 cases, including ten with physical injury and two threats to kill or cause serious harm. Of the 22 assaults, three were against women and three were against mixed-gender groups, but the report shows men are significantly more likely to be targeted by violence.

Today’s report includes a number of examples of reported incidents:

I was on my way to work when a man swung a folded newspaper at me, hitting me and called me a ‘f***ing black woman’. I was in shock.
One of them stopped, leaned in front of the victims face and began racially abusing him. When the man failed to react, he pulled off his headphones and said something along the lines of ‘this is what I hate about this country, all the ‘blacks’ coming in here taking our jobs. After this it escalated into a violent racist attack.
  • Eighteen incidents required medical treatment or resulted in serious health problems for the victims.
  • One involved children experiencing bleach burns on eyes and skin after they were sprayed by other children in their neighbourhood.
  • Two involved severe beatings of the victim, with unknown extent of injuries at time of reporting.
  • Eight resulted in physical injuries not requiring immediate hospitalisation.
  • In two cases clothes were ripped from the bodies of victims during the assaults.

Verbal abuse

The largest proportion of incidents submitted concerned verbal abuse. In 43 cases, the incidents involved perpetrators who were known to the person targeted by the abuse. Ten of these perpetrators were staff members in public institutions and 12 were neighbours.

My nextdoor neighbour came onto my property shouting that his partner was going to kill me, calling me a ‘foreign bastard’ and a ‘dirty foreign bitch’.
He called me a ‘Filthy jew’ and a ‘baby killer’, and said that I should have been ‘Killed by the nazis’.
A neighbour’s son kept calling my mixed race son a nigger and a monkey and a black bastard. He warned him a few times to stop saying such things. I went and asked his parents to please speak to their child as this was unacceptable. I was told to f**k off and that all my kids should watch their back…
At the Trinity Ball, a person approached a girl of Arab descent shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’.

In one incident, it is claimed a councillor told a member of the Travelling community that if they were a housing officer, they would not give them a place in their neighbourhood.

‘…bringing in the likes of dirt like you and I have 220 people waiting to be housed. Why would I help you?’

Social media

Enar said 53 reports concerned the publication of racist statements in media and social media. Of these, 34 were published on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

“Facebook has been a particular producer of collective racist statements as people respond to negative news stories or posts about ethnic groups and share them with their networks,” the report notes.

“It has also been home to new Irish white supremacist groups, anti-immigration groups and Islamophobic groups emerging online with links to (and mostly dominated by members of) international far-right groups.”

According to the report, only 30 of the 190 cases were reported to gardaí.

Twenty cases involving violence were not reported to gardaí Two people said they had previous responses from gardaí to previous incidents, four did not think the gardaí would do anything, one was concerned about the offenders’ response, and four said that the type of incident was too common (despite involving violence).

A number of victims who reported incidents on the site said their fear as a result was so significant that it impacted on their ability to engage in normal everyday activities like attending school or going to work, shopping or talking to neighbours.

Shane O’Curry, director of Enar Ireland, said the report reveals “worrying levels of institutional racism”.

We must clearly understand this: these attitudes and practices have the effect of normalising racist crimes against people.

“We need to be proactive in confronting racism. It is not good enough to blame minorities for the failure of society to integrate them when such high levels of racism are allowed to fester,” he added. “The responsibility must be on the state to first address the racism in its own institutions.”

Read: ‘This will bring us back to the dark ages’: Anti-racism group hits out at National Party>

Read: Two men in court for ‘shoving black man into coffin and threatening to burn him alive’>

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