A woman who was pushed into the Royal Canal in Dublin by a gang of youths over the weekend has said it is not the first time she was racially abused.
Shelley Xiong was speaking after a video of Friday’s attack was widely shared across social media.
Gardaí investigating the “racially motivated incident” have said they are now following a definite line of inquiry.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Ms Xiong said she was out for a walk on the canal when the teens started to racially abuse her.
“I continuously received abuse from teenagers - young lads - and after the last one, after they verbally abused me, which had racial elements, I was just very angry and couldn’t put up with that anymore,” she said.
“So, I went after them and asked them to stop.
“Apparently three groups merged together or they had more people and then when I asked them to stop and told them this is racial discrimination and it is criminal, they pushed me down into the canal.”
She said the youths may have been as young as 12-years-old.
“My own estimation would be they would be 12 to 16,” she said.
“Some are big and some are small. The small ones could be older but small size. That is my own guess, some looked small but I don’t know; they looked like teen or pre-teen age.
She said it is the first time she has been attacked in Ireland; however, she has been racially abused in the past.
“My own view is that human races are like different flowers in a garden and the variety and diversity enhances the beauty of the garden,” she said.
“Those humans of different races enhance the beauty. We enjoy the diversity of the population living in Ireland but on the other hand, we all belong to one human family.
“In that respect, we are all only one human race on this lonely planet so we should learn to live with each other and treat each other equally.”
She noted that racism is a “very, very dangerous thing” for any country and warned that Ireland must act now to ensure the issues that have emerged in places like the US, UK and France do not arise here in the future.
“My own observation is that these kinds of problems, the racial related problems, they don’t happen in the first generation of immigrants,” she said. “They happen often in the second or third generation.
“So, I particularly feel sad to hear those words uttered from young people and hear those racial related problems happening among young children.
“This racism divides people and can sow the seeds of hatred among young people.
“In Ireland this wave of immigration happened probably later than other countries like the UK, France of the US and the second generation has not grown up yet. We don’t want to see that happening. We don’t want to live in a divided society.”
You can listen back here: