20 March 2014
To mark European Week Against Racism, Irish political parties stood united today in their renewed commitment to racism-free election campaigns.
As the Dáil chamber lay empty during the spring recess, representatives from every political party, and independent candidates, were invited to cast their political differences aside to sign the Anti-Racism Election Protocol.
The Protocol, re-launched today by INAR, the national anti-racism watchdog, has played an important role since 2001 in ensuring that elections have been conducted in such a way that they do not incite hatred or prejudice on the grounds of ‘race’, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origin, religious belief or membership of the Traveller community. INAR extended this invitation to parties and candidates so that they can demonstrate and renew their commitment to anti-racism.
“The parties are to be commended for renewing their pledge. The Protocol can act as a safeguard against candidates resorting to racism for cheap gain at election time” said Shane O’Curry, Director of INAR; the racism monitoring network of over 40 civil society organisations. “Racism is no joke. Across Europe, vulnerable communities pay a heavy price when candidates pander to people’s prejudices and use racism for electoral advantage. In Ireland we are lucky to have consensus among parties that racism is unacceptable. Let’s keep it that way.”
Brigid Quilligan, Director of the Irish Traveller Movement, an INAR member, said, “The Protocol is there to ensure that elections are conducted in a manner which respects the dignity and human rights of all people in Ireland. It would be great to see this translating into a political culture where expressions of anti-Traveller or anti-migrant sentiment are a thing of the past, and where migrants and Travellers are instead valued as voters and members of society.”
Kate O’Connell from the Canal Communities Intercultural Network, also an INAR member, said, “It’s great to see the politicians and candidates using common sense and signing up to the Protocol. It’s all too easy to prey on the fears and anxieties of people from communities which have been hardest hit in the recession. All of us have to do our bit to keep racism out of Ireland, and to build real solidarity among our communities.”
Caroline Reid, Communications Support, 087 2341906 / email@example.com
Notes to Editor:
Party General Secretaries and Justice Spokespersons from Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin have been invited to attend, along with independent candidates and representatives from People Before Profit, the Socialist Party, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and the Workers Party.
A Photocall Notice has been issued
Representatives from the INAR Network will be available for interview
Anti-Racism Protocol: https://inar.ie/wp-
INAR coordinates a network of over 40 civil society organisations working in anti-racism in Ireland, and is the Irish coordination of ENAR, the European Network Against Racism. INAR and ENAR work to coordinate common civil society led responses to racism and racial discrimination at a local, national and European level.
INAR operate www.iReport.ie, the independent national racist incident reporting tool. iReport.ie was launched on 11th July 2013 and is a human rights monitoring tool, which takes the form of quarterly and yearly observations on racist incidents in Ireland. The iReport observatory compiles its data from information submitted by people who have been subjected to racism, by frontline anti-racist organisations and other organisations that are committed to combating racism, and by the public. You can read the latest report here.
Anti-racism events for European Week Against Racism:
Cork Unites Against Racism: https://www.facebook.com/
(No link but there is also a rally at 1pm from Daunts Square, Cork City)
Galway: Mon 24th March, INAR in conjunction with the Galway Traveller Movement officially launches www.iReport.ie and the Anti-Racism Election Protocol in Galway. Pádraig Conneely, Mayor of Galway, will be speaking at the event at 11am, Galway City Council Office.