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Anti-Xenophobic Rhetoric

Anti-Xenophobic Rhetoric Minister of Justice of Ireland Alan Shatter.

On January 27, Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter, in a speech marking National Holocaust Memorial Day, condemned the rise of parties of the extreme political right, observing that “Holocaust Denial is the favourite sport for some”.

On March 23, Sinn Fein party dismissed K. O’Reily for posting anti-Travellers posts on Facebook. Members of the Fianna Fail party, including their leader Michael Martin, condemned racist remarks of the party agitator.

On June 4, Irish Senate held debates on the problems of racism and noted the lack of basic legislation on hate crime. Senator Mac Conghail brought in a motion which aimed at dealing racist crimes more thoroughly. The lack of any centralised mechanism for recording racist incidents was also highlighted. The motion proposed the establishment of a centralised database, a review of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act (1989) to introduce provisions to deal with racist crimes, to ratify the European Convention on Cybercrime and the Additional Protocol on online racism and to develop a new National Action Plan to combat racism. However the motion failed to be passed, while the Irish government brought in a counter-motion which, while also aimed at tackling racism, eschewed placing any demands on new pieces of legislature to be passed.

On August 11th, the Irish Minister of State for Equality, New Communities and Culture, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, went on record calling the heavily criticised direct provision system “not humane”. He went on to declare that he would not “stand over a system of people living in limbo for years on end.” He went on to stress the need for reforms to the system, which asylum seekers see as an evidence for institutional racism in Ireland”.

Authorities had a tough reaction to the events in Waterford on October 29, when nationalists attacked a group of travellers. Minister of State for Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin called them “cowardly, prejudiced and racist.” Leader of the local Labour party Ciara Conway said: "There are many nationalities involved in street crime in Ireland – the major one is Irish.”

Member of the local city council David Cullinane (Sinn Fein party) said that events in Waterford were completely unacceptable. He said that there is no place in society for rough justice, adding that if anyone has information relating to allegations of criminality they should bring it forward to the appropriate authorities.

On December 2, at the parliamentary debates around integration of immigrants MP Thomas Pringle asked the Minister of Justice and Equality whether the Office for Promotion of Migrant Integration will continue its functions in 2015.

Minister Francis Fitzgerald said that the government’s programme contains a commitment to promote integration of ethnic minorities in Ireland and promote social integration, equality, diversity and participation of immigrants in the economic, social, political and cultural life of their communities.” He noted that the Office continued to monitor racist incidents and publish corresponding reports.

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