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Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication. Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication. 

Xenophobic Rhetoric

Xenophobic Rhetoric

Widespread xenophobic sentiments have been noted among the Irish police. A report published on August 1st reveals that victims of racism are reluctant to notify the police of the crimes they suffered, and, that a majority of those victims interviewed characterised their encounter with the police as negative. Negative responses by Gardai to reports of racist crimes have been found to include the misidentification of racist incidents, to Garda actively refusing to take statements from victims of racism.

One of Irish political parties also made xenophobic statements. During local Irish elections, the radical nationalist party "Fianna Fail" was heavily criticized for issuing racist pamphlets opposing the placement of nomads in the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown.

Candidates from the Fine Gael party made calls against Roma and other Travellers during their electoral campaign to the European Parliament. There have been xenophobic statements on the social media. A Facebook group was created to expel “gypsy criminals”, proposing to “burn the cockroaches”.

Much hope was placed in the election of Leo Varadkar as the first ethnic minority Taoiseach (or ‘Prime Minister’) in Irish history in the middle of 2017. The Dublin-born, half-Asian son of an immigrant father was trumpeted by some as a ‘clear crystallisation of the significant societal shifts that have occurred in his lifetime’. Reports were, however, mixed on his attitudes towards migrants and refugees. One article found, for example, that in 2008 Varadkar had argued for the deportation of unemployed migrants and in 2016 made a series of warnings about migrants ‘look[ing] down on our freedoms and liberalisms and think[ing] they’re wrong’.[1]

In January 2018 a columnist for the Irish edition of the Sunday Times, Kevin Myers, came under fire for criticising two female BBC presenters, Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, for their ability to negotiate higher salaries because were Jewish. In the column, Myers wrote: ‘Good for them. Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price, which is the most useful measure there is of inveterate, lost-with-all-hands stupidity.’ Ireland’s Jewish leaders, however, came out in defence of the columnist – suggesting that Myers had ‘inadvertently stumbled into an anti-Semitic trope’ and was symptomatic of his ‘curmudgeonly, cranky, idiosyncratic style’[2].

A second incident that highlighted anti-Semitism in elite rhetoric during the period under consideration made it to the legislative level. In February 2018, Irish Republican Party (FiannaFáil) TD, Marc MacSharry, from County Sligo was accused of anti-Semitic prejudice when he made parallels between the Irish Government and Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels.[3] His comments came amidst news of new National Planning Framework funding in the TD’s area whilst other services were being cut. While the comments did not appear to be directed at the Jewish community or individual therein, Ireland’s Minister for Health, Simon Harris, perception was that his comments amounted to ‘an attack on the Jewish community and the victims of the Holocaust.’[4]

The incident stopped the proceedings of the DáilÉireannfor ten minutesand contrasts heavily with Ireland’s low rankings in recent global surveys of popular anti-Semitism – with only 20% of respondents answering ‘probably true’that Jews are more loyal to Israel than Ireland, that Jews have too much power in business affairs and that Jews have too much control over global media.[5] Recent NGO reports also confirm the dearth of popular anti-Semitism in the country – with ENAR Ireland reporting only one incident of anti-Semitic abuse offline and six online between January and July 2017. Finally, this is further reaffirmed by historically low records of anti-Semitic incidents reported to Irish Police – with a total 43 incidents occurring nationally between 2006 and 2015.[7]

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