Leo Varadkar vows to tackle racism following anti-immigration protests
"We shouldn't play into those arguments."
Leo Varadkar has vowed to tackle racism after a number of protests have taken place recently against immigrants and refugees.
The Taoiseach described the demonstrations that were seen outside hospitals as a "new low" and has urged TDs not to make excuses for them.
Protests have been seen in Waterford, Cork and areas of Dublin over the last few weeks and in a way to tackle this, Varadkar has said that the Government will publish a national action plan against racism next month.
This will include funding for integration and countering racist activities.
"Racists and the far right will blame whatever problem the country is facing on migrants. That's the way it works. That's the way they think," Varadkar told TDs.
"So if we have a housing crisis, it'll be 'the foreigners are taking our homes'. If we have an unemployment crisis, it'll be 'the foreigners are taking our jobs'. If we've got high levels of crime, they'll blame the foreigners.
"If there's violence against women they will blame that on migrants and people who've come here from overseas, particularly those who are brown or black."
Varadkar added that "we shouldn't play into those arguments."
The head of the Irish Nursing and Midwives Organisation (INMO), Phil Ní Sheaghdha, told Varadkar this week that there have been several complaints from foreign national members of the organisation that have been subject to racial verbal attacks by those protesting.
"While there is no excuse for any form of racism, under any circumstances, it really is a low blow and a new low if healthcare workers, to whom we are so grateful for having come here, are now facing protests and racism from those who do not believe they are welcome here," the Taoiseach told the Dáil.
Photograph: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie
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