Incidents of hate speech in Ireland almost doubled in 2020
The findings of a report from the Irish Network Against Racism have been described as "disappointing".
There was a spike in incidents of racism reported in Ireland 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic limiting the amount of human interaction, according to the Irish Network Against Racism (INAR).
Based on data from their iReport.ie system, the organisation's 2020 report highlighted 700 racist incidents, a rise from 530 in 2019.
INAR define a racist incident as "any incident which has the effect of undermining anyone’s enjoyment of their human rights, based on their background."
Discrimination accounted for 99 reports, while there were 334 concerning hate speech, almost double that of 2019.
In regard to hate speech, 69 reports were identified as published directly by extreme hate groups or well-known far-right activists in Ireland. These included threats to a wide range of minority groups.
Excluding prosectuable hate speech incidents, there were 159 cases involving race-related criminal offences in 2020.
Meanwhile, racist assaults were the subject of 51 cases in 2020, the highest ever rate reported to iReport.ie.
Author, Traveller activist and member of the INAR board Oein De Bhairduin said in a statement: “Contrary to what we might expect, the pandemic and associated lockdowns did not result in a quieter time for minorities in Ireland.
"In fact, the situation worsened for minorities, both in terms of the absolute number of online and on-the-street hate incidents, and in terms of the disproportional impacts of Covid on almost all minority groups."
Dr Lucy Michael, research lead at INAR and author of the report, stated: “The report findings are also disappointing in what they tell us about our institutions and how they respond to minorities.
"Minorities making complaints about repeat harassment have told us about more instances of inappropriate responses from Gardai than before."
She added: "We’ve also sadly logged an increase in instances of racial profiling by Gardai.”