Thursday, 6 October 2011

Taking Racism Seriously report - attitudes don't tally with Irish self image

We’re great, we Irish, so we are.   

We survived the 800 years of oppression and the Famine, so we have an inbuilt affinity with the underdog.   The whole world recognises this, of course, and all true lovers of freedom love the Irish. 

So the Irish patriotic delusion goes.  But patriots' delusions everywhere should be challenged, and in many other countries that process has taken place.  Jingoism is seen as distasteful and foolish.

Not in Ireland though, where patriotism is a continuation of the same unquestioning blind faith that the Catholic Church enjoyed for so much of the state’s history.  And the other side of exclusive patriotism and narrow nationalism is xenophobia, racism and an unhealthy attitude to “outsiders”. 

The following is from the RTE website report last Tuesday.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland has said that racism is an everyday fact of life for migrants in this country and people must do more to challenge those who engage in racist behaviour in public settings.

The Council has launched a research report entitled 'Taking Racism Seriously: Migrants' Experiences of Violence, Harassment and Anti-Social Behaviour in the Dublin Area'

It worked with Dublin Bus, Veolia Transport (which operates the Luas), gardaí and the Integration Office of Dublin City Council in producing the research report.

Focus groups were held with African bus-drivers, Luas revenue protection officers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and Asian healthcare workers, all of whom had lived in Ireland for between six and ten years.

Many of those participating in the focus groups were naturalised Irish citizens.

The vast majority had experience of racist incidents, varying from long-term harassment and violent assault to anti-social behaviour that resulted in victims having to flee their homes.

ICI Chief Executive Denise Charlton said what was striking about the report is that the people interviewed believe racism is more prevalent in Ireland than in many other countries in which they have lived.

She said some of those they spoke with have lived in the UK, Holland and Sweden, but said they never felt as unsafe as they do in Ireland.

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John said...

Headline Irish Examiner today:
"HOMELESS charities say they have been instructed by the Government to provide shelter only to local homeless people and not those from other counties."

This is in breech of EU rules as all member citizens to be treated equally.

In the Irish Times today
"Ireland’s record on human rights will be examined by the United Nations tomorrow for the first time to see where it stands and how to improve it"

Just about says it all!!

The Gombeen Man said...

Amazing that our government - including Labour, the supposed party of internationalism - could come out with something like this.

Anonymous said...

Yes GM, quite amazing that our government would do this, I mean you only have to look at its long history and trad.... Oh! hang on a minute.

It turns out that FG has its roots in Ireland's only fascist party and Labour was in coalition with them even back then.

John said...

The Labour party gave up any leftist policy by 1991, when they threw Militant and Joe Higgins out of the Labour Party in 1989 and got rid of the founding symbol and flag,The Starry Plough, originally used by the Irish Citizen Army, a socialist, Republican movement founded by James Connolly and Labour Pary, he said the significance of the flag was that a free Ireland would control its own destiny from the plough to the stars. The present Labour party adopted the red rose of the English Labour party as well as their Blairite polices. The result being that if the polls are correct Sinn Fein are the second party at the moment.

The Gombeen Man said...

@ Anon. That'd be a nice bit of symmetry alright. Are you sure it wasn't the FF***ers that weren't in power then though?

There was another one, though:

@ John. Sure wasn't I a teenage Millie myself, long ago in the day...

Think the thing I kept with me was their internationalism... they didn't fall into the old "republican" (as we now understand it in Ireland) trap.

Dakota said...

The etheral that is Ireland. GM no doubt there is an ever present undercurrent almost sureal atmosphere in Dublin. Almost creates a physical barrier albeit subtle, which adhers to one, producing a breeding ground for negativity and hostility. Anyone who can't feel it.......well wouldn't understand it either way. This may explain the "feeling" of dislocation that respondents articulated. The pleasures of living in Dublin.

Apart from that GM flip the coin over and what have you got? Oh yes, the elite and the collusionary masses. Effectively the powers that be - in Ireland and the Western World - have engineered an environment whereby people equal production units. If they happen to belong to a certain class, no matter race or creed, then they are a willing part of the consuming masses, if not, then they are the underclasses. This ultimately corrodes society until all that's left is a culture which has all the consistency of treacle. The process may appear supine but it's ultimately dangerous. Welcome to the new capitalism.

aisha said...

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Thanks for honestly relating your experiences and opinions and good luck to you.

The Gombeen Man said...

@ Dakota. It's not the most inspiring of places, our capital city, my friend. Society never really caught on here.

@ Aisha. I'm only posting this spam comment because I like Subaru Outbacks.