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War of words over racism stats

Last update - Thursday, July 2, 2009, 15:55 By Catherine Reilly

ANTI-RACISM campaigners have hit out at the integration minister’s contention that Ireland is not growing more racist.

The EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s 2009 annual report last week revealed that racist crimes in Ireland rose by nearly a third in 2007 – the third highest increase recorded throughout the EU. The agency also stated that racism is under-reported across Europe.
However, Integration Minister John Curran contended: “Any racist attack is to be deplored but what the report does not make clear is that these figures must be seen against a backdrop of a phenomenal and unprecedented increase in the non-Irish national population from 224,000 in 2002 to 420,000 in 2006.”
However, anti-racism campaigners suggest the minister is missing the point.
Garrett Mullan, co-ordinator of Show Racism the Red Card, commented: “The fact is that racism is woefully underreported in Ireland and the state agencies do not have the systems in place for collecting accurate statistics.”
He added: “The minister would be better advised to monitor research from the ESRI which found in 2006, that one in three immigrants to Ireland had experienced racism.
“He could also talk to local election candidates from immigrant backgrounds including Patrick Maphoso in Dublin inner city, Tendai Madondo in Tallaght and others who reported racist abuse both verbal and physical during their campaigns.”
The EU agency report found there were 224 racist crimes reported in Ireland in 2007, a 29.5 per cent increase on the 173 crimes reported in 2006.

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