Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu has revealed the racist abuse experienced by her mother, at a rally opposing the far-right.
Ms Chu, who is celebrating her wedding this weekend, took time out to join hundreds of people who turned out for the protest rally in Smithfield on Saturday.
The Rally Against Hate was organised by the group Le Cheile, which means together in Irish, an alliance of public figures working to “counter the rise of fascism and far-right politics in Ireland”.
The Lord Mayor, whose parents are originally from Hong Kong but have lived in Ireland for decades, told the crowd: “There is no bigger cause than what we’re fighting here today.
“My mother knows this very well. She was a migrant that came over here 45 years ago.
“And through the years it was always ‘Well we have to fit in, so we can’t put our head up’.
“Any racial attacks she got, an ashtray to the head, being told she was a chink, that she should go home, it was always followed by the phrase ‘We have to keep going and we have to keep our head down, we have to fit in’.
“But those days are gone. We are an Ireland that is 12% migrants. We are an Ireland that is diverse and that is different, and those differences should be celebrated.
“If my mother, who is a dishwasher and a cleaner, and who came over here with one bag to make a better life for herself, and her daughter can become Lord Mayor of Dublin, then any person in this country can become anything.
“We need to encourage them for that.”
The crowd also heard from Sophia Mulvany, an 11-year-old wheelchair-user from Dublin.
She said: “In my school I have lots of friends. Some of my friends, their parents are from Spain, Poland, China, Africa and Germany. People say they don’t want them here because they are different.
“I don’t walk, does that make me different? Does that mean I don’t belong here?
“When we say access for all, we want everyone included. Not the few, but the many.
“Whether you’re gay, straight, trans, a person of colour, a traveller, a person who has a disability or part of any other group.
“You deserve a voice and you deserve a place in society.
“Modern Ireland is a place where people from all over the world are accepted with open arms.”
Sinn Fein’s Louise O’Reilly, the Social Democrats’ Gary Gannon and People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd Barrett, Paul Murphy and Brid Smyth were among the TDs attending on Saturday.
Le Cheile says its goal is to challenge far-right politics and narratives, debunk misinformation, and challenge anti-lockdown rhetoric.
Protests associated with the far-right which opposed Covid-19 measures have spilled into violence in recent months, most notably when a member of An Garda Siochana was attacked with a firework.