Nasc is concerned that national policy-makers have failed to look the insidious problem of racism in the eye, and calls on the government to introduce systems to monitor to what extent ethnic minority populations in Ireland perceive racism – and in particular institutional racism – to be a reality.
Anecdotal evidence that minority populations in Ireland do perceive racism to be an unfortunate reality has been echoed by recent surveys, including an Irish Times poll in November 2009: Poll shows hardening of attitude towards immigrants.
This poll resonated with migrant NGOs, including Crosscare Migrant Project, as reported in The Irish Times, 26 November 2009: Warning of rise in racism.
The information provided by the Irish Times poll was echoed in the results of a major survey that was carried out in 27 member states by The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in 2008. Read more about the FRA on its website and in The Irish Times of 11 January 2010: EU rights body aims to change agenda with reliable data.
The results of the European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (or EU-MIDIS) were published in April 2009 as “EU-MIDIS at a glance” , and the full MIDIS report was published in July 2009. Media reaction to that report included this article in the Irish Examiner of 10 December 2009: Ireland ‘among worst’ for racism.
The Houses of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on European Affairs’ Eleventh Report of December 2009 stated:
Victim’s [sic] surveys, such as the FRA’s EU-MIDIS survey, can provide crucially important data to guide policy development effectively
We agree. In 2010 we conducted a survey in Cork to help us to gauge local attitudes. We were shocked to learn that some 70% of you believe racism is an issue in the city.
Having had contact with thousands of inward migrants over the last ten years, it has not been Nasc’s experience that victims of discrimination or racism are inclined to report their experiences. The EU-MIDIS report indicates that this experience is mirrored across Europe.
Nasc believes that dismissing the reality of racism on the basis of a lack of sufficient evidence – as past administrations have done – is a naïve and potentially dangerous approach.
In a letter to the editor of the Irish Examiner on 18 January 18 2009, we suggested that the government should test the results of the EU-MIDIS survey by means of a comprehensive national survey around the same issues, rather than dismissing them without further ado.
We believe that a reliable and extensive national survey should be carried out, in order to verify the evidence that is available to date, so that national policy can continue to adapt to the real experiences of all members of our society.
Nasc is concerned to ensure that the Department of Justice demonstrates a clear commitment to ensuring that the policing mechanisms of the Irish state remain fair and impartial.
We believe that the data collection mechanisms currently employed by An Garda Síochána are unsuited to assessing whether policing is being conducted in a fair and non-discriminatory manner.
Only An Garda Síochana can monitor whether active policing affects some sections of the population more than others. Routine reports of formal Garda interaction with members of the public should include the ethnic profile of the persons affected. This would facilitate access by the force and by its policy-makers to reliable and comparable data on minorities and policing in Ireland.
Irish Examiner 11 January 2010: Gardaí Accused of Racial Discrimination.
We reject racism and any other form of discrimination in our work.
We note that the Equal Status and Employment Equality Acts prohibit discrimination on any of the following grounds:
- Marital status
- Family Status
- Membership of the Travelling Community
- Sexual orientation
All of Nasc’s services and sub-groups are open to all those who wish to use them. We expect our menbers, staff and volunteers to adhere to this approach as a fundamental part of out work. We reject discrimination of any form in all our services, courses and sub-groups, this includes not just our employment and service policies but all aspects of our work. Words, jokes, pictures or attitudes which disrespect or discriminate against people on any of these grounds are not acceptable in Nasc.
Related Links and Resources
- “Protect Against Racial Discrimination: Introduce a comprehensive system for the monitoring of racist incidents.” This is one of the 15 key actions that the Irish Human Rights Commission says our government should take in advance of the United Nations review of our human rights record of October 2011
- Nigerian-born Irish citizen awarded €10,000 over arrest, The Irish Times, 14 July 14 2010