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800pc increase in racist attacks in just one year

CASES of reported racism this year have increased by 800pc compared with the same period in 2013.

Complaints received by the gardai and the Immigrant Council of Ireland included verbal abuse, with non-nationals being told to "go back to your own country", and physical threats.

More than half of the reported cases were classed as serious criminal offences.

Forty-four cases of racism and discrimination have been reported this year, compared with only five in the corresponding period last year, according to the council's latest monthly report.

Twenty-two instances involved verbal harassment, while a quarter were recorded as discrimination and social exclusion.

More than one in every 10 were physical attacks.

Discrimination

One out of four racial attacks this year occurred in the home or local community, which is the environment where most discrimination occurs.

And one in every five instances occurred at work, with the remainder happening on the street, on the internet or while accessing government services.

The alarming increase in instances of racism being reported is down to people feeling more comfortable informing authorities when they have been abused, according to a spokesperson for the council.

Spokesman Jerry O'Connor said: "Research two years ago said victims of racism weren't coming forward because they might be seen as troublemakers.

"As a lot of these people are migrants, they feared it would affect their ability to remain in Ireland. The awareness campaign, launched in early 2013, generated a lot of publicity and the number of cases started increasing very dramatically."

He added that social media had also allowed more people to report cases of racism without fear of identification.

Mr O'Connor said the vast majority of cases reported came via email, and stressed that those who felt they had been racially abused should report all cases and they will be provided with services to resolve any issues.

One man from eastern Europe was told "to go back to your own country".

His abuser also told the man's girlfriend, who is disabled, that he "hopes she'll die".

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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