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Statistics on racist assaults confirm rise since Referendum

7 September, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has described as worrying, statistics by the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI), which suggested that a rise in racist assaults have been reported since the Citizenship Referendum last June.

Ms McDonald said "it is no coincidence that there is a direct correlation between the Citizenship Referendum and a rise in the incidences of reported racist assaults in the period directly after the passing of the referendum".

Speaking before her departure to Brussels Ms McDonald said:

„The NCCRI study shows clearly that the volume of racist assaults are running well above the Œaverage‚ numbers normally reported. That there has been a sharp increase during and since the passing of the Citizenship Referendum should surprise no one. Sinn Féin, along with others, warned that the referendum would lead to an increase in racism, and unfortunately we have been proved right.

"The NCCRI recorded 50 racist incidents during and since the referendum campaign. Many such incidents occurred during the actual campaign. These statistics are particularly worrying when placed beside other statistics, which show an average of 47 incidents every 6 months.

"Racism also extends far beyond such violent attacks. Members of ethnic minority communities experience a whole series of inequalities in our society, ranging from verbal and physical abuse to discrimination in employment, education, health provision, and public life more generally.

"The Garda racial and intercultural unit have not recorded such an increase in racist attacks and this shows that many members of ethnic minority communities in Ireland have no confidence in the Gardaí, and do not report many incidents to them.

"Condemning racist attacks is not enough. We need to actively work for the removal of racism from our society. This requires action as much as words. It requires adequate resourcing and support for ethnic minority communities and their support groups. And it requires meaningful partnerships between all sections of society.

"In particular politicians and others in positions of community leadership need to ask ourselves what more can we do to assist ethnic minority communities and ensure that all people can live free from the negative effects of racism." ENDS

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