Irish public transport to host biggest anti-racism campaign in Europe

1,065 posters will be on display during a two-week period

Irish public transport to host biggest anti-racism campaign in Europe

Image: Immigrant Council of Ireland

The country's major transport companies have launched a campaign to challenge racism.

Dublin Bus, Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann, Transdev, Local Link bus services and the taxi industry are uniting to tackle racism on public transport.

It is the biggest anti-racism campaign of its kind in Europe, with over 1,000 posters displayed during a two-week period.

The campaign is being coordinated by the Immigrant Council of Ireland, in partnership with Transport for Ireland and Dublin City Council.

Brian Killoran, CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said: "The Immigrant Council is proud to link up with national transport agencies to promote a message of solidarity and zero tolerance towards racism.

"The public transport system is the perfect partner as it both serves and represents the cultural diversity in Ireland."

Anne Graham, chief executive of Transport for Ireland, added: "Ireland has become more diverse and more mature in recent years, and the staff who deliver our public transport services certainly reflect these positive changes.

"However, that doesn't mean we can be complacent, and prejudice and intolerance - whoever the target may be - need to be tackled head on.

"This is the fifth year the campaign has run and the positive impact on the transport agencies and their staff has been encouraging."

Posters like this will be appearing across all public transport networks | Image: Immigrant Council of Ireland

Rasa Mikalauskiene, originally from Lithuania, is a bus driver with Bus Éireann.

She thinks it is important to run campaigns like this: "I have been at Bus Éireann for 12 years. I work the West Cork route, out to Skibbereen and Bantry - my office is on the wheels.

"I've been doing this route for 10 years and my customers know me and I know everyone's names and even their surnames.

"I was working before in other workplaces and it was bad but here I feel comfortable and I feel respected. I don't feel foreign, I feel normal.

"Creating a good atmosphere in work ensures everyone feels happier and works more efficiently", she added.

Racist incidents are on the rise in Ireland, with 245 completed reports in the second half of last year.

This is up from 190 in the previous six months.

As of July 2017, Dublin Bus has 3,550 employees from 71 different countries of origin. Employees from ethnic minorities make up 17% of its total employees.

Bus Éireann has 2,536 people employed and 33 different backgrounds are represented, while Iarnród Éireann employs 3,832 people and 23 different backgrounds count among the staff members.

And among 264 Transdev staff, 30 different nationalities are represented.

Anyone who witnesses or experiences racism on Ireland's transport system is urged to email stopracism@immigrantcouncil.ie