Probe into Kerry teens online attack on Ian Wright continues; Call for more education on hate speech

Anti-racism campaigners have called on the Government to "act urgently" to ensure young people are educated that hate speech and racism have no place in Irish society.
Probe into Kerry teens online attack on Ian Wright continues; Call for more education on hate speech
Footballer Ian Wright, who was the victim of a racist online attack on Monday

Anti-racism campaigners have called on the Government to "act urgently" to ensure young people are educated that hate speech and racism have no place in Irish society.

It comes as Gardaí continue to investigate a vile racist online attack on former football star Ian Wright by a Kerry teenager.

On Monday, the former Arsenal and England striker posted a number of Instagram messages he had been sent from a male youth from Tralee.

Mr Wright shared screen grabs of the messages on Twitter.  The string of messages include a number of racial slurs.

Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI) welcomed the Garda investigation and called on justice minister, Charlie Flanagan, to implement long awaited hate crime legislation.

It pointed out that Ireland under international scrutiny as a nation that is falling down on its commitments to tackle racism and discrimination and to live up to its international human rights obligations in combating racial discrimination.

"The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, EU Fundamental Rights Agency, the Council of Europe and INAR Ireland have all highlighted our short comings stating that Ireland has above average incidents of discrimination and racist violence," said a statement.

SARI said education is key to challenging racism and discrimination and that the Government must "act urgently" to ensure this happens.

CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Brian Killoran, also emphasised the important of educating young people that racism has no place in Irish society: "Words wound and that's why words matter. The language used was very concerning.

"Online abuse is not a victimless crime and it's important young people are educated about why diversity is important and why racist language language is not acceptable in our society — in any format and on any platform," he said.

Mr Killoran called on the incoming government to prioritise the development and implementation of a new National Action Plan Against Racism as the last one expired in 2008: "False narratives can develop in a vacuum which is why we need pro-active public awareness campaigns which tell the truth about the cultural and economic benefits interculturalism brings and that as people, we have more in common than divides us."

On Monday, Gardaí confirmed that a male adult teenager has presented at a Garda station and been interviewed in relation to the incident.

In line with An Garda Síochána Diversity and Integration Strategy, an investigation is underway and a file is being prepared for the Director Public Prosecutions.

Gardaí also urged the public not to engage in social media commentary in relation to the matter.

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