Racism rises during pandemic

Racist incidents have significantly increased since the beginning of the pandemic, accordingly to new research by the Irish Network Against Racism (INAR). Its racist incident reporting system, iReport.ie, recorded a total of 700 incidents in 2020, up over 30% on the 2019 figures.

The system also recorded a record 334 cases of hate speech, 159 criminal incidents and 51 racist assaults.

Fórsa is part of INAR’s national network of almost 130 anti-racism civil society organisations, which work collectively to address the racism in Ireland. The union’s national secretary, Billy Hannigan, noted the report’s sizeable section on employment discrimination, which is illegal.

“Results show that discrimination at work is usually accompanied by verbal and sometimes physical abuse, as well as lesser treatment. Many victims were afraid to report these incidents in case they lost their jobs.

“No worker should be subjected to this behaviour and fear for their livelihoods. It is up to each and every one of us in the union movement to organise, root out any racist behaviour and protect these vulnerable people,” he said.

INAR board member and Traveller activist, Oein De Bhairduin said the pandemic had exacerbated discrimination against marginalised groups. “It’s been a bad year for everyone, but racism and hate crimes have made it even worse for minorities,” he said.

Mr De Bhairduin said the best way to tackle this is through Government action. “We have the promise of hate crime legislation this year. But we also need measures to tackle hate speech in the online environment, ” he said.

Fórsa previously supported the ‘love not hate’ initiative which called on government to introduce hate crime legislation.


Read the full 2020 racism in Ireland report here. 

Read more about the national action plan against racism in Ireland here. 

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