Dublin GAA star Jason Sherlock joined Comedian Tara Flynn and Singer Song Writer Maureen Aku Disu on Moore Street in Dublin yesterday, to launch Ireland’s new racist incident reporting system, iReport.ie, along with representatives from minority groups all over Ireland.
The system is a new initiative from INAR, a network of over 30 organisations working against racism in Ireland. Director of INAR Shane O’Curry said, “Ireland needs to take racism seriously. iReport.ie is a user-friendly reporting system which will give us a concrete data on the extent and nature of racism in Ireland. Most Irish people abhor racism and this is a tool to help shift away from a culture where people stand idly by”.
“If the majority of white Irish people don’t actively challenge racism, then it creeps in,” said Tara Flynn, whose recent ‘Racist B&B’ sketch was sparked by an incident in which racist epithets were hurled at her husband, who is African-American. “Racism is absolutely unacceptable in any civilised society.”
“Recent reports have shown a hardening of attitudes towards migrants as the recession bites,” continued Mr O’Curry, “and many members of our network are seeing more overt racist attacks on migrants, Travellers and minorities every day. We saw a need for an easy mechanism for people to do something about racism when they experience or witness it. iReport.ie is that mechanism”.
“There is no level of racism that is acceptable” said GAA Star Jason Sherlock who has spoken out publicly against the racist taunts he himself has been subjected to “I welcome any initiative which challenges racism.”
A number of supporters at the launch spoke of their own harrowing experiences of racism. Emmanuel Sone endured a sustained verbal assault on a train from Dublin to Maynooth. “I was reading the paper – minding my own business – when I realised that the men opposite me were making monkey noises at me. They continued for the whole journey. It was rush hour, and I was surrounded by business people and young professionals but not one person intervened.”
“When I got off the train the men followed me and threatened me. Again, no one tried to stop them.” Mr Sone continued. “I have reported this incident to iReport.ie and at least now I feel it has been recorded somewhere, I feel like someone is listening.”
“We really need to talk about racism in Ireland,” said singer Maureen Aku Disu, an Irish citizen of Nigerian origin whose song (Bloody Immigrants) about her experience of racism in Ireland went viral last week. “Most Irish people are of course nice and not racist, but too many racist lies go unchallenged in public life. These lies lead people to believe that they are justified in being nasty to people from minority backgrounds. We can’t allow this to happen in Ireland. We need to break the silence on racism.”
NOTES TO EDITOR
Racist Incident Reporting Tool: www.iReport.ie/
INAR website: www.inar.ie
Tara Flynn’s “Racist B&B” Sketch: www.taraflynn.ie/blog/racist-bb/
Maureen Aku Disu’s song’ Bloody Immigrants’ is available here: www.youtu.be/1Dn2jotIkjw
iReport Vox Pop: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ub-AqOs-n8
Racism: See it. Send it. End it Short: www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9DutA5x3_Q
*Members of INAR: www.inar.ie/network/members/