Ireland sees rise in racist incidents as groups launch #SayNoToRacism campaign

Racist incidents are on the rise in Ireland.

There were 245 completed reports in the second half of last year, up from 190 in the previous six months.

A new anti-racism campaign is being rolled out across our public transport system encouraging anyone who witnesses or experiences racism to report it.

Brian Killoran from the Immigrant Council of Ireland, says in light of recent events in Charlottesville in the US, greater efforts need to be taken to tackle racism.

He said: "That's why something like what we are doing here today is a great opportunity for very public bodies to say 'we hold the line against this, we are not going to tolerate it'.

"And we need to see that again and again, so less of that kind of attitude begins to take hold in Ireland. We don't have it in Ireland, but that doesn't mean we can be complacent."

The Launch of National Transport Anti-Racism campaign in partnership with Transport for Ireland and Dublin City Council. Pictured left to right: Elaine Doyle of Local Link, Happymore Karigomba of Irish Rail, Brian Killoran CEO Immigrant Council of Ireland, Anne Graham CEO Transport for Ireland, Sidney Mithi of Dublin Bus and Rasa Mikalauskiene of Bus Eireann

He went on to say that Ireland's public transport system is the perfect partner for the launch as "it both serves and represents the cultural diversity in Ireland".

He said: "We have learned around one in six of Dublin Bus employees are from a migrant background, with 70 different countries represented.

"A total of 33 different backgrounds are represented among Bus Éireann’s 2,536 employees and among Iarnród Éireann’s 3,832 staff 23 different countries of origin are represented. Among 264 Transdev staff, 30 different nationalities are represented."

Anne Graham, Chief Executive of Transport for Ireland, said: "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 on the transport agencies.

Fiona Healy from Dublin City Council, said: “During the period of the campaign we encourage transport users to report any incidences of racism they see.

"Eliminating racism on our transport networks is a brilliant place to start as they are used by everyone without discrimination.

"Dublin City Council is delighted to support these transport agencies in demonstrating zero tolerance towards racism and encouraging anyone who witnesses or experiences it to speak out."

Rasa Mikalauskiene, who is originally from Lithuania and is a bus driver with Bus Éireann, thinks it is important to run campaigns like this.

She said: "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."

* Anyone who witnesses or experiences racism on Ireland’s transport system is urged to email the Immigrant Council of Ireland.


Most Read in Ireland