Since 2008, the State’s mechanisms to monitor and combat racism have been dismantled. The National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI), an expert anti-racism body, was effectively abolished without warning in December 2008 when its budget was completely removed.1 In addition, the State has not renewed the National Action Plan Against Racism 2005-20082 and has instead committed to incorporating anti-racism measures into a proposed new Integration Strategy.3 The location of anti-racism policy solely within integration policy is problematic as it ignores other groups such as Irish Travellers and other black and ethnic minority people who experience racism.
Evidence points to a clear need for the monitoring and combating of racism and discrimination, particularly in relation to access to public services. In a 2012 survey, the Public Service Executive Union4 which represents officials in the public and civil service, found that 26 per cent of its members ‘witnessed racist remarks by colleagues about clients/customers’ while seven per cent reported ‘witnessing a client/customer being subjected to racist remarks or behaviour’ by a colleague.5 There have also been a high number of racist incidents – 112 in the first three months of 2014 – reported to a civil society racism monitoring mechanism which has been established in an attempt to fill the void left by the cuts.6
There is a significant gap in the availability of reliable data in relation to the socio-economic, political and legal situation of different vulnerable communities including migrants, Travellers and Roma in Ireland.7 In addition, disaggregated data on ethnicity is limited because of the fact that a category on ethnicity is generally not included in official data collection systems. This lack of data hampers the development of evidence-based policies and practices to address the needs of minority ethnic communities and hinders the effective monitoring of the implementation of measures to tackle discrimination.
Ensure the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is mandated and adequately resourced to independently monitor incidences of racism and discrimination.
Renew the National Action Plan against Racism and take steps to effectively tackle racism.
Collate and make publicly available disaggregated data on the basis of ethnicity, including Irish Travellers, by official data collection systems.
1 Equality and Rights Alliance (2013) Creating a Strategic Engagement between Civil Society and the IHREC Equality and Rights Alliance, Dublin: ERA.
2 Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform (2005) Planning for Diversity: National Action Plan Against Racism, Dublin: Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.
3 Minister for Equality and Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD, Parliamentary Questions: Written Answers [21672/14] and [21744/14], 14 May 2014.
4 The Public Service Executive Union is the Trade Union for Executive Grades in the Civil Service and the wider public sector. The Union was formed in 1890 and has 10,000 members in the Civil Service, Eircom, An Post, the Irish Aviation Authority and elsewhere in the Public Service.
6 S. O’Curry & Dr. L. Michael (2014) Reports of Racism in Ireland: 3rd Quarterly, Dublin: European Network Against Racism Ireland.
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