THE number of racist incidents reported to gardaí do not reflect reality, according to a report.
The report from the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) states there are high levels of racism in Irish society, but this is generally under-reported for a number of reasons.
Compiled by Catherine Cosgrave, the report looks at migrants’ experiences of violence, harassment and antisocial behaviour in the Dublin area.
It outlines the personal testimony of some of those who claim they have suffered racist abuse on an almost daily basis.
However, the report suggests some migrants do not bring complaints to gardaí, sometimes because they are afraid it could affect their residency status.
In one example, a refugee who was granted Irish citizenship had previously been told that he had come to the “adverse attention” of gardaí, apparently because he had been questioned as a witness to one incident and had been asked on another occasion for his driver’s licence and insurance documents at a road checkpoint.
Other reasons cited in the report as possibly affecting the level of reporting to gardaí include migrants’ possible negative perceptions of police from their countries of origin and perceived inconsistencies in the way gardaí respond to racist crime.
The report, published today, will show that in many cases, individuals who had experienced racism decided not to report the incident any further than discussing it with the ICI.
This was either due to having had a previous negative experience with reporting an issue to not believing that anything would happen, to not wanting to be seen as ‘rocking the boat’ or attracting attention to themselves.
The report contains case studies of at least two people who contacted the ICI’s Racist Incidents Support and Referral Service after experiencing racist harassment, but who refused to report their experiences to An Garda Síochána — despite encouragement and support from the ICI — because of their belief that this would affect their immigration status.
An Immigrant Council spokesperson said: “The ICI believes that official figures documenting incidents of racism do not reflect reality. All racially motivated incidents that come to the attention of gardaí are recorded on the Pulse system. However, the ICI believes the actual number of racist incidents in Ireland each year is far higher than the numbers shown in Pulse data.”
The report will also show that while some bus and Luas drivers of different nationalities suffer occasional racist abuse, black personnel suffer it more frequently.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved