I am aware of the information released by the Immigrant Council of Ireland on 1 July 2013 regarding the total number of racist incidents reported to it over a ten week period in response to its recent awareness raising campaign on social media and public transport. I understand that these were preliminary figures only and that a more detailed analysis of the figures will be produced.
I would urge victims of racism to report it to the relevant statutory body where appropriate. For example, our equality legislation outlaws discrimination on the basis of race in employment and non-employment areas. The Equality Tribunal is responsible for dealing with complaints under this legislation. Similarly, anyone who is the victim of racist crime should report it to An Garda Síochána. The Garda Racial, Intercultural and Diversity Office places great emphasis on the importance of reporting any suspected racist crime to the local Gardaí. It works with a network of Ethnic Liaison Officers at local level and gives advice on the services available to victims of hate crime. My Department’s Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration also undertakes important work to promote positive attitudes in our society and positive integration, as well as providing information.
I have previously indicated that I think we should start a reflection - a national dialogue - in Ireland about what we need to do to ensure the evils of racism, prejudice and intolerance do not spread and detrimentally affect the lives of those who live here and I am actively considering next steps in this regard.