Hate crimes and hate-related incidents increased by almost a third in 2022, according to newly released data from An Garda Síochána.
Some 582 incidents were classified by gardaí as either 'hate crimes' or 'hate-related incidents', compared to 448 in 2021, representing an increase of 29%. Of these, 510 were deemed hate crimes — up from 389 — while 72 were classified as hate-related incidents, up from 51 in 2021.
A total of 617 'discriminatory motives' were recorded by gardaí, with some crimes having more than one motive. The most prevalent discriminatory motive was race (32%), followed by sexual orientation (22%) and nationality (21%).
Hate motives were evident in a range of incidents, the largest percentage being public order (30%), followed by minor assaults (20%), assault causing harm (9%), and criminal damage (8%).
The largest proportion of incidents (47%) occurred in the Dublin metropolitan area, followed by the north-western garda region at 20% and the eastern region at 18%. Some 15% of incidents occurred in the southern region.
Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman said An Garda Síochána continues to have a “strong focus” on investigating crimes with a hate motive.
“An Garda Síochána recognises that hate crimes have a huge impact on victims, specifically because they are targeted because of a characteristic of who they are. These crimes also have a significant impact on wider communities and society,” she said.
Chair of the National LGBT Federation (NXF) Anna Nolan said the “alarming” figures confirm what the LGBTQI+ community has been reporting for some time: "a sharp rise in often violent hate attacks”.
“We also need to finally start holding online platforms to account for the proliferation of hateful and extremist disinformation, which, as we can see, is having direct, real-world consequences,” she said.
The data release for 2022 comes in conjunction with the publishing of findings from the Irish Network Against Racism’s (INAR) reporting system, which shows a significant increase in racist incidents. The system recorded 600 incidents in 2022, rising by almost 50% from 404 in 2021.
INAR board member Fionnuala O’Connell said the data shows the continued prevalence of racist incidents in Ireland, confirming racism as an everyday reality for people from minority groups.
“The persistent levels of repeat harassment, and the continued lack of clear responses when they are reported to the authorities is a cause for ongoing concern,” she said, before adding the preliminary findings for 2023 are indicative of “a worsening atmosphere” for minorities.