Reports of racist incidents and assaults in Ireland are at a record high, according to the Irish Network Against Racism.
The number of racist incidents reported to the INAR iReport.ie racist incident reporting system jumped to 700 last year – a 32% increase on 2019.
Meanwhile, the network recorded a record 51 reports of racist assaults, 159 criminal incidents and nearly 600 hate speech incidents.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Amanullah De Sondy, Head of the Study of Religions Department in UCC said the report is a “catalogue of ghastly accounts” of racist abuse suffered by people all over the country.
“There was Chinese woman who was racially abused and pushed into a canal by teenagers,” he said. “There is racial discrimination in the workplace.
“The one that really got me was a pharmacy telling a South Asian they had no hand sanitisers but then selling it a short while later to white Irish customers.
“When I read that, I honestly felt quite emotional. I thought about my parents who came from Pakistan in the 60s to the UK. My mother has very limited English and I am thinking, I am on a radio talk show right now explaining what it feels like to be on the receiving end of racism, to give you feedback or give you an analysis of a report but there are people out there who don’t have that capacity.
“There are people out there who have been harmed because of this. We really have to rally together and do something. We need structural change and that is what this report is saying.”
Mr De Sondy said the rise in reports of racism is down to a “mixture of all sorts of things,” but noted that some people do seem to be “emboldened by seeing more racists.”
He said everybody in Ireland should sit down and read the report.
“This Irish Network Against Racism report is both shocking and deeply concerning. It supports the view that I have been saying throughout that there is a pandemic on a pandemic,” he said.
He said he “felt numb” reading the report and noted that it was published just days after global leaders like European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden warned that racism is a global problem that infects every country in the world.
“This has come to our doorstep here and they are all telling us the same thing – racism is not in some faraway land,” he said. “It is right here."
“With this report, the numbers are just unbelievable. I am still shocked reading it. 700 is just disgraceful for us.”
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