A UNIVERSITY study has found racism is prevalent in Ireland with over half of foreigners having experienced some form of discrimination since moving here.
Gardai, judges, university staff, teachers and local politicians were among public figures accused of racist behaviour, according to research conducted by a UCD academic.
It found 60pc of those surveyed had been subjected to or witnessed racist acts.
While the majority of racist incidents reported occurred on the street, the report also found many incidents took place in garda stations, schools, hospitals and social welfare offices.
Report author Dr Patricia Kennedy of the School of Applied Social Science in UCD, concluded: “There seems to be no place free of racism, public or private.”
Verbal attacks (71pc) and gestures (42pc) were the most common form of racism pinpointed, while there were a lower number of complaints about threats (28pc), refusal of service (24pc), physical attack (23pc), unfair working conditions (15pc), offensive graffiti (14pc) and property damage (8pc).
The research published today was commissioned by Doras Luimni, a charity working with migrants, with interviews conducted in Limerick over a month-long period earlier this year.
It found that under-reporting of racist incidents was an issue throughout Ireland, with 80pc of people who witnessed racism and discrimination not reporting it to authorities.
“Some of the reasons given for not reporting included not knowing where to report, lack of confidence in officials, including gardai, [and] an acceptance that racism exists and is tolerated,” the report said.
Asylum seekers surveyed, who encountered racism in direct provision hostels, said they didn’t report it as they had “no status” in Ireland.
One African man interviewed for the research said: “You feel it every day. In the bus no one sits next to you if you are black. They stare at you.
“If you are black and you ask directions or information they just pass you. They don’t answer.
“In many ways, in the church, in [my] parish, when you should greet each other, you give your hand and they don’t take it. They distance themselves from you.”
Verbal abuse highlighted in the report included racial comments to late night takeaway staff, Africans being told to “go back” to where they came from, and the use of the words “nigger” and “monkey”.
Common forms of physical abuse described included the throwing of stones, eggs and physical assault.
An African man interviewed gave an account of how a friend was targeted by a very young child. “People stoned me and my friends on Limerick streets. On one particular occasion a friend was stoned by a very little boy of not more than five years old.”
Another person surveyed reported how a friend was stubbed with a cigarette while working in a pizza parlour after refusing to give a customer free food.
Refusal of entry to pubs and clubs was also cited by those surveyed.
Some 112 people were interviewed as part of the research.
Dr Kennedy concluded those interviewed had “a genuine desire to be part of Irish society, but felt that institutional and everyday racism made them increasingly excluded.”
She added: “Furthermore the instruments that were designed to help fight racism, such as reporting, legislation and action by public authorities were often given little by way of support from the Irish state.”