“Is racism in the DNA of our institutions?” asks ENAR Ireland Director.

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MEDIA RELEASE

25th Oct 2013

Reports to iReport.ie suggest that both racism against Roma and institutional racism are commonplace in Ireland, says anti-racism watchdog.

As the Irish public expresses outrage at the seizure of two children from their families by Gardaí and the HSE, ENAR Ireland reveals an increase in incidents of racism against Roma in recent weeks, as well as incidences of institutional racism.

Since its launch in July 2013, independent racist incident reporting mechanism iReport.ie has recorded more than 120 incidents of racism in Ireland. These included 12 reports involving racism against members of the Roma community and 13 against Travellers, 2 incidents logged involved remarks made by judges, 2 involved politicians, 3 involved HSE staff and at least 8 involved Gardaí.

“In a letter to the New York Times this week, Minister Shatter says that racism is only committed by a minority of people in Ireland” said Shane O’Curry, director of ENAR Ireland “notwithstanding the comments on various news websites, comments from some politicians and judges and some of the press coverage relating to the Roma and Traveller communities in particular, I think he may be broadly right. However, I have concerns when the government makes the blind assertion that the Garda and HSE action was not motivated by racial considerations. In this respect the government is out-of-step with the public outrage that is being currently expressed at what is clearly an example of racial profiling by the HSE and the Gardaí.”

“The dogs on the street know that those families were targeted because of their Roma background. These are our neighbours, and these actions have consequences for all of us as they risk causing grave damage to community relations. This week’s events, and the prevalence of complaints to iReport.ie from people from minority backgrounds, gives rise to the strong suspicion of institutional racism. It begs the question: “Is racism in the DNA of our institutions?”, a question which only a fully independent inquiry into the actions of the HSE and Gardaí can fully answer. It’s time the Government took racism seriously” O’Curry continued  ”International press coverage of this week’s events shows Ireland in an extremely poor light at a time when we should be living up to our international obligations by outlawing racial profiling and rolling out a comprehensive National Action Plan against Racism”.

ENDS

Contact:

Shane O’Curry, Director ENAR-Ireland : 086 394 0042

NOTES TO EDITOR

Racist Incident Reporting Tool: www.iReport.ie/

ENAR Ireland website: www.enarireland.org/

ENAR Ireland’s submission on Integration, Multiculturalism and Combating Racism to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality October 2013: http://enarireland.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ENAR-Ireland-Submission-to-JC-FINAL1.pdf

Link to Infographs from first four weeks of iReport.ie: www.infogr.am/The-iReport-Documenting-Racism-in-Ireland/

ENAR Ireland is a networking organisation with over 30 organisations nationally. At a European level, ENAR has over 800 organisations in 30 states. 

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