Best way to end racism is by working at grassroots level
The launch of the Government’s National Action Plan Against Racism will be broadly welcomed by most fair-minded people.
Having been on the receiving end of racist tropes ourselves, this is a subject close to the hearts of many Irish people.
I went to London via ferry as a teenager in the 1990s and experienced “racial profiling”. Me and a cohort of fellow Irishmen were subjected to searches and questioning by UK authorities in Holyhead.
This came as no surprise to us. After all, the IRA was running an active bombing campaign at that time.
At the inquest into the 2017 Ariana Grande concert bombing in Manchester, a security guard admitted to having had a “bad feeling” about bomber Salman Abedi. However, the guard failed to act for fear of being accused of being “racist”.
This demonstrates how common sense must come before sensitivity where security is concerned.
If we really want to tackle racism in Ireland, we must do so at a grass-roots level.
Government must communicate more effectively and honestly with locals in areas where asylum seekers are to be housed.
Most importantly, government should promote opportunities for informal, in-person meetings between asylum-seekers, immigrants or members of ethnic minorities and the public. Hopefully this will lead to genuine understanding.
This will prove the best medicine to combat the scourge of racism in this country.
Kilcar, Co Donegal
Garda recruitment woes are a sign of a force in trouble
The issue of garda recruitment is no longer a side issue to be swept under the carpet by government politicians or Garda HQ.
The increased number of resignations, 109 in 2023, quadrupled over the past number of years, shows a force in flux.
Only 116 people enlisted out of 800 budgeted for in 2022. This will make the targeted 1,000 recruitment drive for 2023 an uphill struggle.
The physical competency test introduced to the force has shown a high failure rate as 55 out of 315 personnel failed last year.
Pensions for new recruits are a fraction of what more senior members will get.
Serious assaults on Garda members have become more frequent.
There are also long, drawn-out suspensions, overbearing statistical bureaucracy and an IT system overloaded with nonsensical queries.
No amount of legislation or increased oversight will reverse what is happening at ground level. The loss of so many young recruits, probationers and qualified members of the force should be a warning.
Letterkenny, Co Donegal
Be you ever so high, the law is above you, Mr Trump
The latest news of a possible indictment of Donald Trump is stirring up trouble and the calls for “support” are accompanied by talk of riots to prevent his arrest and police actions to protect the peace.
Surely no one is misguided or arrogant enough to believe that the justice system does not apply the same for him as it does for anyone else?
The US has a get-out clause when it comes to the Hague
Will we ever see a US president slated to appear as a defendant at the International Criminal Court in The Hague any time soon – perhaps for the various murderous invasions perpetrated around the globe? Never.
Since this war crimes court was set up, there has been the understood “clause” that no American will ever be brought before it.
Bantry, Co Cork
Being in opposition is the best place for whingers
It might come as a surprise to opposition parties that their constant carping and whining may not be the best way to attract voters. Can anyone remember when the larger opposition groupings made any kind of positive observations?
Drumree, Co Meath
Violence is tool of those who want us to live in the past
The shooting of officer John Caldwell at an Omagh sports centre was callous. Sinn Féin was right to condemn it.
I thought this was in our past and that we could look to a better future for all. Unfortunately there are people who will drag us back to the past.
This attack has no place in a civil society.
Kinsale, Co Cork