Reports of racism are up 10 times on last year
REPORTS of racist incidents have jumped almost tenfold in the first two months of the year compared to the same period last year.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland said that it has been notified of 44 cases of racism and discrimination in January and February – compared to just five before March last year.
Disturbingly, more than a quarter of the cases reported this year have involved racist or discriminatory acts which targeted individuals in their homes or local community.
Over half of the cases reported to the Council have been classified as 'serious criminal offences'.
"It is clear that racism is a reality which individuals and families are facing on a daily basis in Ireland," said Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council.
"We have long suspected that official statistics were not giving an accurate picture of what is happening in our communities and these figures confirm that."
The reporting of racism and discrimination has increased by 800pc following an extensive awareness campaign on the issue by the Immigrant Council of Ireland, on public transport, social media and on radio.
"It is completely unacceptable that in Ireland 2014 people are lying awake in their beds fearing a noise in their back garden, that their home will be daubed with graffiti or that there will be a brick through their window," she added.
Incidents of physical violence were reported in 12pc of cases, with 13pc reporting property damage and racist graffiti.
Victims were most likely to suffer the abuse in their homes and communities, but incidents taking place in victims' workplaces were reported to be a close second.