Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu says it's 'appalling' and 'disgusting' that a woman was pushed into the Royal Canal.
She says that while there has been anti-social behaviour along the canal before, it was "really surprising how brazen people were" in the latest incident.
A video of Friday’s attack was widely shared across social media.
Shelley Xiong - the woman who was pushed into the canal - has alleged she was pushed into the water after receiving abuse from a group of teenagers.
Gardaí investigating the allegedly “racially motivated incident” have said they are now following a definite line of inquiry.
Lord Mayor Chu said she was shocked when she saw the video.
Speaking on The Hard Shoulder, she said: "It was physical assault.
"The other more disgusting part is they chose to film it, and then circulate it as if it was something to laugh about.
"I thought it was appalling - it's not what we promote as a country, or what we promote as a city."
Experiencing racism and abuse
Lord Mayor Chu said her own family and friends have experienced racism in this country.
She said: "It's happened to me in school, it's happened to my mum, it's happened to my brother, it's happened to friends of ours who are of different ethnic background.
"With what has happened with the COVID-19 virus, I think people do see people of Asian heritage... and associate the virus with them, unjustly so might I say.
"I've had people who've gone into my mum's restaurant before asking for a serving of coronavirus as a joke, and then they ran away.
"People think it's sometimes fair game or that it's funny... but in this case it was far from funny... and on top of that, assaulting someone was in another extreme altogether."
Lord Mayor Chu has taken to Twitter to highlight some of the abusive messages she has received:
So this week's award for being not just a clown but the whole circus goes to this troll/bot.
Thanks for putting your hand up for muting x pic.twitter.com/yTzuQxLquq
— Hazel Chu (@hazechu) August 16, 2020
Education 'needs to happen early'
Lord Mayor Chu said there's now a need to put more resources into educate to ensure conversations about race are had with children from a young age.
She observed: "It needs to happen early - it needs to happen in the community itself.
"[Kids] grow up into adults, and if they continue to have the mindset - thinking looking at someone with different skin colour means you can call them names - then we're doing something wrong as a society.
"You have lots of youth groups and youth diversion groups that work really well across the board. But we need more, and we need more Garda Community Programme because of this as well."
She also noted that work is underway to develop fresh legislation on hate speech.
The Green Party politician said the current law 'isn't up to purpose', and that work is already underway at the Department of Justice to develop the new legislation.