Monday 23 July 2018

City cyclist who shouted racist abuse at man is convicted

Tim Healy

A CYCLIST who shouted racist abuse at a passing pedestrian was sentenced to a month's imprisonment yesterday.

However, Michael McNulty (40), Nephin Road, Cabra, Dublin - who would have been one of the first people to go to jail for racist remarks - was released on bail pending an appeal.

He pleaded guilty to causing a breach of the peace when he shouted: "Hey you nigger, go home to your own country, you black bastard" at a man from Sierra Leone.

Dublin District Court heard that Mr McNulty was cycling down Dorset Street on May 27 last while Mr Nicholas Jacob, who has lived here for three years, was walking in the opposite direction.

Detective Gardai Kevin Keyes and Kevin Stratford were behind Mr McNulty when they heard him shout the offensive remark. They arrested him and later charged him.

Counsel for McNulty said he was deeply apologetic and knew he had made "an unforgiveable comment".

However, he claimed there had been an earlier incident whereby Mr Jacob stepped out in front of him. "He realises he should never have said anything to him but he was under a lot of stress and was out of work at the time," McNulty's counsel said.

McNulty had previously been a member of the military and was now working in a ?36,000 per annum job with a human resources company. He was a divorced father of two and had to pay ?1,000 a month maintenance. Judge James Scally said it was a racist and appalling remark, "the lowest type of remark that can be made."

Even if he was under stress, this was not an excuse. "It is probably the worst remark anyone can make to another human being," the judge said.

Rejecting pleas not to jail him as he had no previous convictions, Judge Scally said he was treating it as a serious matter. He took into account that he had pleaded guilty and imposed a one-month prison sentence.

Following the sentence, the Irish Refugee Council said that incidents of physical abuse sparked by racism against foreigners is on the increase here. However, Ireland is no more racist than most other countries, the Council said.

Most foreign people living in Ireland expect to be racially abused at some point during their time here, while physical attacks on people are "worryingly high", director of the Council, Peter O'Mahoney, said yesterday.

He said that most foreign people living in Ireland, regardless of whether or not they are applying for asylum, can expect to be racially abused.

"It certainly is all too common that people who look different are likely to be racially abused," he said.

However, Mr O'Mahoney pointed out that racism has been on the increase in recent years as there are more targets, "but I don't think racism is any worse in this country than in others".

Another anti-racism group, the Dublin-based Residents Against Racism, said incidents of racist abuse against its members were so commonplace that most people "don't bother reporting them".

"Most of our members are African and it's so commonplace that people don't bother reporting it. It happens all the time," said Rosanna Flynn.

"People aren't inclined to report it, even with cases of assault, she said. She added that the group were calling on victims of racist attacks to report all incidents in order to raise public awareness of racism in Ireland.

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