12% of adults in Ireland discriminated against

Brian Killoran, chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland

Almost one in eight adults here experienced some form of discrimination within a two-year period, with those of non-white ethnicity and the unemployed the most likely to be targeted.

Nonetheless, the Central Statistics Office’s latest four-yearly survey on equality also shows that almost two thirds of people who experience discrimination do not take any action in response.

More than a quarter (28%) of those of a non-white ethnic background said they had experienced discrimination in the 24 months up to the third quarter of 2014. During that period, 23% of the unemployed said they had been targeted, as did 17% of non-Irish nationals and 16% of people with a disability.

The CSO found discrimination was almost equally as likely to be related to accessing services (7%) or to be work-related (6%). Of those who said they had been discriminated against in work, 32% said it took the form of bullying or harassment and 22% said it was through their working conditions.

A person’s colour and ethnicity was the most likely reason to be discriminated against in work (28%), followed by gender (17%), while, for those looking for work, age was the most likely cause (46%).

Those who had experienced discrimination were asked about its impact upon them. While less than a quarter who felt they had been targeted in shops, pubs, or restaurants said it had a serious effect on their lives, that rose to half for those who had encountered discrimination at work or while trying to access health services.

Brian Killoran, chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said the findings from the CSO came as no great surprise to frontline agencies supporting victims of discrimination.

“The rate of incidents in the workplace and in accessing services tally with reports of racism and discrimination reported to us – which increased by 51% to 217 reports in 2014,” he said.

“We are calling on all political parties to make a pre-election commitment to end discrimination in all its forms.

“Measures we want include the appointment of a Cabinet minister for integration to oversee the rollout of a national plan across all areas of Government and public policy.

“Providers of public services and employers must have firm equality policies in place and where necessary introduce training and complaint procedures.

“We must not be complacent and ensure that everyone who has made a commitment to this country is treated with fairness, equality and justice in all parts of their lives.”


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