Racially motivated crimes not being recorded by gardai
Published 31/08/2014 | 02:30
Gardai are not logging racially motivated crimes on official records, as required by regulations
Officially the Republic has only two race incidents a week - statistics dismissed as laughable by experts working in the area.
According to a recent study by the Integration Centre, officers are often not aware of force's own racism reporting policy Study author Helena Clarke said the research showed that there is a huge gap between the racism experienced in Ireland and the level recorded by the gardai,
Garda figures for 2013 record just 93 racially motivated crimes in the Republic.
These include seven assaults, 16 minor assaults, nine incidents of criminal damage, 44 public order offences and 17 "other" offences.
Yet between March 2013 and March 2014 the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) recorded 982 racially motivated offences.
With a population just under a third of that of the Republic, that would suggests racially motivated crime in the north is some 30 times higher than the south.
Garda sources say the system to report all racially motivated offences to the Force's Racial and Intercultural Office, introduced just over a decade ago, is not being adhered to. They say there is scant knowledge among rank and file gardai that all racist offences are notifiable to the section.
The racial crime office is staffed by one sergeant and two gardai.
The government gave commitments to the EU and the United Nations that it would implement strict reporting of racially motivated crime in 2002-2003 when the garda section was set up. Yet year after year the figures recorded in the Republic lag far behind those in Northern Ireland.
The latest garda figures, for the first quarter of this year, says there were only 21 racially motivated offences, which indicates that the level of reporting racist crime is actually dropping.
Yet, a take-away shop owner in west Dublin says her staff have been subjected to years of racial violence and abuse.
She told the Sunday Independent that one of her staff, a foreign national, has left the job after being subjected to four serious assaults in just eight weeks.
Speaking on the grounds of anonymity - the businesswoman said she and her staff have been told they will be killed if they speak out - the woman was strongly critical of the gardai.
She said: "This young man is working to pay for his education and he needs the money. But he cannot go on any longer. We have reported and reported to the gardai - but they do nothing.
"The last time he was attacked and we called the gardai they actually shouted at him - even though he was badly injured.
"If anything happens now we have to get Irish friends to ring up the gardai because they won't come out when they hear our accents. They - the attackers - told him that if he went to the gardai they would kill him. There is nothing here now for us but to leave this country."
This experience is not unique, says Ken McCue, director of Sports Against Racism Ireland (SARI), who said he was aware of several complaints from foreign nationals in the same garda division.
"The guards aren't taking this seriously. I know there have been a lot of complaints in this area and people are being driven out which means they are going to places where there are others of the same nationalities and that is causing ghettoisation.
"There is little confidence gardai are taking racist crime seriously enough. I was speaking to a man last week who is the subject of a constant campaign of vandalism and violence at his home by a gang of kids. He says he is giving up and going to move as he claims he cannot get any protection from the guards."
Mr McCue said that after the murder of 15-year-old Toyosi Shittabey, stabbed to death in Blanchardstown in April 2010, gardai said they would increase reporting and monitoring of racist violence.