Almost a fifth of people responsible for racial abuse are children, new figures have revealed.
An end-of-year report from the Immigrant Council of Ireland showed 144 racist incidents were recorded throughout 2013 – up 85% from the year before.
Council chief executive Denise Charlton said the involvement of children – both as perpetrators and victims – was particularly concerning and that reports of racism peaked during school holidays.
“It is worth noting that July was by far the busiest month with 31 incidents, while other periods corresponded with mid-term periods around Halloween with 18 reports in November and St Patrick’s Day when 15 reports were received in March,” Ms Charlton said.
“To ignore this trend amongst our young people is not only wrong but dangerous.
“Students, parents and teachers all have a role to ensure that racism is kept out of our classrooms, playgrounds and sporting arenas.”
She called on schools to produce and implement an anti-bullying policy in a bid to prevent racism.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland produced a template policy to help schools earlier this year.
The report showed that 17% of perpetrators behind the racism recorded in 2013 were under-18, while 8% of victims were also children.
A total 144 incidents were reported during the year, up from 78 in 2012.
The youngest victim of racial abuse was just three years old.
Some 63% of perpetrators were adults, 17% were children and 20% were of an unspecified age.
Among the victims, 78% were adults, 8% were children and 14% failed to give their age.
The council’s report also revealed that almost half of those behind a racial attack were male, 24% female and the remainder unknown.
The majority of victims were also male.
Verbal and written abuse was the most common form of racism, accounting for 52% of attacks.
A quarter of the incidents recorded involved some sort of discrimination, while 9% involved a physical attack.