Sunday, 9 October 2016

Anonymous : Take down the barriers

Before I start I want to say that I believe racism is wrong. It eats away at humanity like a plague. I have friends of different skin colours, from other nationalities and a lot of them are the nicest people I know. But… yes there’s a but.

I can understand why some people feel a certain way about foreign nationals. Not the ‘oh they’re here taking our jobs’ or the ‘they’re here for the benefits’. I can reassure you, they are here to make a better life for themselves and they work hard for it, taking jobs many of us would turn our nose up at.

But when they do come to make a better life for themselves, many tend to gravitate towards people from their home country, creating small communities. It’s a natural thing to do. They’re far from home and they seek the comfort of home through others from their country, people who will understand their cultural heritage. Doing this however does tend to segregate them from the rest of the local community, creating unease between the foreign nationals and the locals.

Then comes the language barrier. Learning a new language is difficult; believe me I know just how difficult it is as I’m in the process of trying to learn a new language. Many foreign nationals come here with very little to basic English, it’s a scary thing for them to try to converse in a language they barely know. They’re afraid they’ll sound stupid or say it wrong and they’ll get laughed at. All the slang words over here can be confusing to someone when they first arrive, never mind how different the words sound in the various accents throughout Ireland and the UK. But it makes locals feel uncomfortable when they are in the company of those who don’t speak their language. Locals get suspicious and tend to think that the foreign nationals are talking and laughing at them behind their backs. I used to think that locals who thought like that where ridiculous.

Though now that I have on many occasions, found myself in company where English wasn’t spoken for up to an hour, I have to admit it’s intimidating. It also makes you feel isolated and altogether is an unpleasant feeling. So I can also imagine what it would be like for foreign nationals when they first arrive here, especially if they don’t know English.
Segregating themselves from the local community and the language barrier cause massive unease between many locals and foreign nationals.

It’s important that both locals and foreign nationals are aware of what the issues are. Locals need to understand that it’s quite a scary thing to move away from your home to create a life somewhere else. Finding comfort in speaking your own language, and spending time with people from your country makes it all a little less daunting for foreign nationals. Foreign nationals also need to understand that they should make an effort to integrate into their local community and try to communicate with the locals, as the lack of these things tend to make locals feel uneasy and isolated in a sense too.

Both locals and foreign nationals need to start bridging the gap that at the moment does exist. It’s up to everyone to make sure no-one feels isolated, intimidated or scared. Foreign nationals take a step out of the comfort zone you have created and chat with the locals. Teach them your beautiful cultures, teach them your languages, and let them taste your delicious cuisine. Locals, have patience, you haven’t uprooted your life to make a new one somewhere else, so you can’t fully understand what it must be like. Take the time to befriend and teach your culture, your language and your cuisine also.

There’s no reason that foreign nationals should lose their identity or culture, all I ask is that you let us in, take down the barriers and include us and that needs to work both ways.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Ireland and Elimination of Racism in 2015 a year of failed opportunities by the Irish Government to make needed changes by Denise O’ Toole (R.O.I.A.R)

Ireland and Elimination of Racism in 2015  a year of failed opportunities by the Irish Government to make needed changes by Denise O’ Toole (R.O.I.A.R)


The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is globally observed annually on 21 March with many events taking place worldwide. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid "pass laws". Proclaiming the Day in 1966, the United Nation's General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. 48 years later  Ireland has certainly made a poor or some would say a downright shameful attempt to do so.
Fast forward to Ireland 2015 surely a country that has the means and laws to tackle racism? You may be surprised; sadly this is not true Ireland with decades of monetary focused governments who placed very little value on social justice has produced shameful and minimal legislation to protect victims of racism immigration & people trafficking.  Ireland in the past decade or so has found itself experiencing growing cultural diversity and change but is unable to protect people from racism and hate crimes .Integration into Irish society is made impossible by government policy such as direct provision and a vote we had which amended our constitution in 2011 which stops Irish born children of immigrants becoming Irish citizens.
 As austerity measures have been creating increasing poverty and social problems so the targeting of minority groups and immigrants grows and in some cases it would be said is used as a tactic by a failing government to take the focus from their unpopularity and is distracting the voters attention to their selling the countries national resources off to the highest bidders in line with their neo liberal agenda. After a lengthy recession which saw the rise of the far right and of fascism again in Europe this austerity is also being used as fuel to further fascist agendas with social media being used to spread the destructive message of far right groups . In Ireland this year we see the launch of political party Identity Ireland; we see groups on facebook like Irish voice. Those of us resisting this fascism will know they have unsuccessfully tried to organise demonstrations on Dublin and Waterford.

As a founder of a voluntary online anti racism group I seem to have embarked on an alice in wonderland type adventure of the most surreal order by trying to understand how racist crimes are dealt with in Ireland, nothing is what it seems and convictions are pitifully low. Unlike our neighbours in the UK Ireland has no race relation act .This was signed into law into the UK IN 1976. This act outlawed discrimination on racial grounds and followed closely the C.E.R.D  Conventions definition of racial discrimination.

The C.E.R.D Convention on the elimination of all form of racial discrimination  was adopted and opened for signature by the United Nations General Assembly on 21 December 1965, and entered into force on 4 January 1969. As of April 2013, it had 87 signatories and 177 parties. The Convention covers the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures that need to be implemented to give effect to its provisions.

 Ireland and the ICERD

Ireland signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1968. Following the enactment of the Employment Equality Act 1998 and the Equal Status Act 2000, the Convention was ratified by Ireland in December 2000 and entered into force in Jan 2001 whereupon it became binding on Ireland in international law. At the time of ratification of the Convention, a reservation/interpretative declaration was entered in relation to Article 4 of the Convention.

Ireland's combined Fifth to Seventh periodic reports to the UNCERD Committee were due to be submitted in 2014 from the quote below from Department of Justice and Equality’s Office for the promotion of migrant integration:

’Tackling racism and promoting diversity is not just the responsibility of Government. Everybody in Irish society, including individuals, organisations, businesses, Governmental and non- Governmental Organisations have a responsibility to address racism and its impact on the people who experience it.
Ireland has been severely criticised for not ratifying the cerd of 2009 because they will not recognise Irish travellers as an ethnic minority. Two famous cases in the U.K Mandlavs Dowelle & O leary and others vs. Allied Domeac and others ironically have lead to the UK recognising Irish travellers as an ethnic minority and affording them more human rights than in Ireland
Other main Irish legislation which directly or indirectly affects racism includes:
The Prohibition of Incitement of hatred act 1989   
The Criminal Justice Act 1994
The refugee act 1996
Non fatal offences against the person act 9
Criminal Damage act 

 In his report to the equality authority in September 2010 on Responding to racist incidents and racist crimes in Ireland Seamus Taylor , Lecturer in Maynooth (Applied Social studies) identifies and lays out clearly and objectively facts and changes which need to be made by the government. This is practically a blueprint on how to make real and much needed change, why has this been ignored?

  Members of Irish society need to become more aware of how little our politicians have done to help eliminate racism through legislation over the past 48 years and that this out of date legislation will remain ineffective and unhelpful to our society in Ireland now and in the future. As an unfunded voluntary group we have no agenda , no criteria to satisfy. We are a group of people who frequently use the media and recognise the educational value that new media and social media can be used for. We are using the internet to create awareness and inform people about racism & social issues in Ireland.


  Justice Minister Francis Fitzgerald declared that ''Ireland is taking its fair share of migrants’'. The reality is that Ireland is opposed to taking refugees whilst our government scapegoats them in its media using them as propaganda for our society’s ills.... Contrary to popular myth Ireland does not have a migrant crisis or an asylum seeker crisis. 2013 Euro stat confirmed that Ireland ranked last out of all EU countries in granting Refugee status to  asylum seekers. But what we did do was setup and farm out 34 direct provision centres to greedy business people who have made over 17 million on profit from them. In these 34 direct provision centres  asylum seekers can spend on average of 4 years getting their paperwork processed, they are not allowed work and receive 19.10 a week with 9.60 per child a week to live on. Children make up 1/3 of Ireland Direct provision population with some knowing no other existence. They are also not allowed attend university whilst awaiting their status. There is no evidence that refugees have any desire to live on social welfare. This deeply inhumane system has seen lives destroyed and corruption continued and celebrated as good economics by the Irish Elite.


Since originally writing this we have gone on to witness the worst refugee crisis Europe has seen since the Second World War. Politicians and leaders through the media & social media  used this crisis to push a biased discourse and dangerous narrative. Language is being used which uses phrases like: mass migration, terrorists and swarms /floods of migrants. This narrative has taken hold due to the majority rightwing ownership of the press this diverts public attention to what the real problems are.
Even before the EUs current struggles to formulate a more harmonised response to the crisis record numbers of people began arriving at its sea and land borders and the Schengen/ Dublin system was under pressure.  Xenophobic governments in Eastern Europe are now overtly rejecting refugees, Western European states have been likewise reluctant to respond humanely to their needs .Unfortunately Ireland is no exception in this regard. Dara Murphy minister of State Ireland said on national radio he 'could not see Ireland having much appetite for a quota system'.

Ireland is suffering politically from a cognitive dissonance as on the one hand we have a pride in the Irish navy for heroically rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean and on the other a violent abusive rejectionist stance against people whom from in the past we have profited and whose countries our Government and its European political and USA corporate allies have succeeded in destroying.  This most obviously includes Britain, Germany and France but also Ireland with its allowing the US military to use Shannon Airport. Even as this is written the Irish Government  is still breaching its neutrality by making Shannon airport available to US military aircraft for the purpose of transmitting arms, military personnel and military prisoners for torture in other countries, yes other countries . Through this action Ireland is complicit in the destabilisation and destruction of the Middle East and the other countries the USA profits from wars with. Ireland must immediately respond to this and the calls for #stopthewar and #stopbombingsyria must be heard by our politicians.
We need to make a start for humanity by actually accepting “our fair share” as opposed to brutalising people in direct provision.
Fundamentally neither refugees nor migrants are a threat at all. If they were allowed to work they would contribute to our societies and to help improve them. Irish people are in a position to understand this as through emigration we have made positive contributions to societies we have joined. We need to make a start for humanity by actually accepting “our fair share” as opposed to brutalising people in direct provision.
 If they were allowed to work they would contribute to our societies and to help improve them. 
As long as fears are stoked up about migrant / refugees establishment politicians right across Europe can blame them on our own problems. Refugees did not cause the homeless crisis, this was caused by lack of social housing, high rents and bank repossessions caused by ''our own''. Refugees could easily be drawn into being part of our solutions.
It does not have to be one or the other homeless people or refugees. We have more in common with them than the bankers, the corrupt government and rich elite1 % who are being let off the hook .Ireland is the 16th richest country in the world with the wealthiest people enjoying a massive €35 billion increase in their fortunes.

All we want for Christmas is a government who will in 2016 end direct provision, for traveller ethnicity to be recognised and our outdated legislation to be reformed.
The general election in early 2016 will be our version of a Christmas list to our government .Let them know that we demand change and will not accept a bag of ashes.

Seamus Taylor

CERD convention

Find a copy of resolution 2142 (XXI) at
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination:

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Victims are used in the Trafficking of Drugs By Lorraine Lally Barrister at Law

Victims are used in the Trafficking of Drugs
By Lorraine Lally
Barrister at Law

When discussing this issue with a young Irish teenager she looked at me and said the same thing that happened to Bridget Jones in the movie where Mr. D’Arcy came to save her. As a lawyer I would not have made that comparison but it is a good example where a person is of significance they receive assistance. The EU Directive was designed to protect a vulnerable group of persons who are often forgotten within the Justice system.  The transposition of the EU Directive  2011/36/EU was considered in the recent case of P v Chief Superintendent Garda National Immigration Bureau & Ors [2015] IEHC 222 where the applicant argued that there had been a breach of her rights under Directive and that it had not been properly transposed into Irish law.  The Directive confers a right to ‘assistance and support’ to persons recognised as victims, whether or not they are prosecuted
The applicant had been arrested on suspicion of committing offenses under s.15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act. Her evidence was that she had been recruited by deception and transported to Ireland for the purposes of exploitation. Judicial review was sought seeking an order of certiorari quashing a decision not to identify her as a victim of trafficking and an order of mandamus requiring her identification as a victim.
O’Malley J. referred to the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, 2005 and the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, 2000. These instruments do not have direct effect in the Irish State but it was accepted that the standards established by them were those that the Ireland had undertaken to apply ([2015] IEHC 222, paragraph 19). Reference was also made to the “Dehli Indicators” ([2015] IEHC 222, para. 20). Judge O’Malley reviewed the legal context including the existing law ([2015] IEHC 222, paras 12-13) Administrative Immigration Arrangements for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking ([2015] IEHC 222, paras 21-27) and also referred to the National Plan (paras 28-34), its review (paras 35-37), the DPP Guidelines (para.38)  and the GRETA Report (paras 39-44).
In relation to the transposition of the Directive in Ireland, she held:
198. The Directive does not purport to prescribe any particular procedure, stating only that “appropriate mechanisms” are required. It does not seek to interfere with the criminal process, apart from requiring that the competent authorities should have the necessary discretion.
199. In my view “appropriate” must mean appropriate to the issues to be determined. In this context, the interests sought to be furthered will in all cases include both the State’s interest in investigating the potential crime of human trafficking and the interests of a victim in receiving assistance and support.
201. In my view the Directive confers a right in all circumstances to an ‘appropriate’ mechanism for determination of the question of the applicant’s status. The mechanism must be one that will facilitate early identification, and where identification is made consequential rights arise. This, therefore, being a Directive intended to confer rights on individuals, it may be relied upon directly.
202. It seems to me that the mechanism adopted in circumstances such as the present case cannot be considered to be “appropriate” unless it deals clearly with the interaction between the application for recognition and the criminal investigation into the applicant’s alleged activities.
The Judge held that what is required is the making of policy decisions within the area of discretion left by the Directive in cases involving suspected criminal activity on the part of the applicant. This discretion does not affect the overall obligation to implement an ‘appropriate mechanism.’ She concluded therefore that the current mechanism as it is “must be held to be inadequate in terms of the transposition of the Directive”. The Court invited the parties to address the court further on the issue of an appropriate remedy in the circumstances.
This case is one of many that will be dealt with by the Courts and the GardaĆ­ what is required is legislation to ensure that victims of trafficking are adequately protected and identified as soon as is practicable. This is not an election issue because the victims of trafficking are poor and often are non-EEA nationals as an immigration lawyer I have met many victims and the system is not in place to provide protection which is unacceptable with the increase in exploitation of human beings.

#humanTrafficking  # GE2016 #HumanRights  #drugs #Ireland

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Republic of Ireland Against Racisms Public Forum Sligo October 24th - All welcome

October 24th Sligo. 2 - 6 pm Public forum for activists and anybody interested in learning about and discussing issues currently facing the Anti Racism movement in Ireland and globally.

Speakers include :
Memet Uludag- Anti Racism Campaigner & Activist , People Before Profit​
Monica Reilly - Sligo Intercultural Forum​
Nigel Gallagher - People Before Profit Sligo​
Damilola Oduwole​  host of  African Scene​
Joe Odiboh on Direct Provision.
Bernard Sweeney​ Irish Traveller Movement​ and Independent Candidate for Sligo , Leitrim
Liz Wallace - Action for Refugees Sligo​

* If you would like to speak at this event please email us at
* If you need accomodation we can possibly arrange for you with our us at least a week beforehand to arrange.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Diversity is Key

by Edel O'Shea 

We should never impose limits on creativity, provided its purpose is not intended to cause harm or provocation. More specifically we should not hesitate or ponder the source of the creativity regardless of which platform is used to generate it.

Why then is there hesitation regarding the author, poet, musician or actor among many other creators? Creativity, in all its forms, is intuitive, colourful and speaks to us all one way or another but in order to engage fully with its potential we must ensure diversity among its creators.

In the UK, for example, a study by the University of Warwick reported that participation and audience members in the creative industries were predominantly from white middle-class well educated backgrounds. This stark reality points to a major deficit of diverse talent in the arts leading to hollows in our potential creative breeding ground.  

Meanwhile in Ireland we’ve made some efforts to nurture the creative seed multi-culturally, however the Art’s Council of Ireland issued a report suggesting restrictions that hinder culturally diverse artistic expression. Some board restrictions cited include; lack of funding to support a diverse arts sector on a local and national level, the absence of minority participation to sit on the Art’s Council and represent those communities and the short term relationship minority ethnic communities have with arts organisations meaning there is no long term permanent partnership between organisation and community to ensure higher participation and engagement.

Across the pond in Hollywood USA we see a similar trend of poor representation of our culturally diverse media society as what’s portrayed on TV and film and the actors chosen to play certain roles does not mirror the current vibrant ethnographic living in its own back yard. It is also suggested that current successful American TV shows, such as The Walking Dead, display diversity simply because it’s currently trendy to do so, leading to a significantly commercially viable source for Hollywood’s producers. This purely commercial angle displays a profit before artistic benefit approach, which can only widen the gap between diversity and dominant mainstream commerciality.

Expression is paramount for the exchange of new knowledge and ideas but what’s missing is the enveloped concept that, trendy or not, ethnicity or gender should ideally be invisible, to both participant and creator, if we are to mesh just expression and the explorations of creativity evenly across all lands.

In Africa, for example, its emerging writers are continuously written and spoken about by media and critics as if they are only viewed as a representation for their continent, solely as a citizen, rather than individuals of vital expression were borders don’t exist. This makes me wonder how we’ve missed the point of artistic creation, meaning there is no point as such, just a need for a simplistic outlet for all to participate, observe and create to increase our cultural awareness, process new concepts and thus continue to evolve. It’s important to acknowledge the distinction between the trendy buzz talk on new African writing and what exactly it is; simply that, new writing like any other and it deserves the right to be read and critiqued impartially without constant mention of where the author resides.     

If cultural diversity is misrepresented or unaligned in reality then it becomes observable that upon creating a piece of TV, film, theatre or prose that the very creativity used to reflect our world is then corrupted by the inequality and racism that defines us in everyday terms. 

Not only is the poverty gap widening but similarly it appears the abundance of our creative capital is unfairly distributed with poor opportunity to engage and create relating to both gender and race. 

If we are to reject or question the existence and practice of interculturalism within the creative arts we are implying a notion that serves only to restrict our world’s collective concepts and beliefs and deny us the fruitfulness of vast and varied creative collaboration that we all thrive on.


1 Neelands, J., Belfoire, E., Firth, C., Hart, N., Perrin, L., Brock, S., Holdaway, D., Woddis, J. & Knell, J. (2015). Enriching Britain: culture, creativity and growth. Retrieved from    


2 Jewesbury, D., Singh, J. & Tuck, S. (2009). Cultural diversity and the arts research project: towards the development of an arts council policy and action plan. Retrieved from

3 Julious, B. (2015, March 25). Hollywood ‘race casting’: what the industry is getting  wrong about diversity. The Guardian. Retrieved from:

4 Julious, B. (2015, March 25). Hollywood ‘race casting’: what the industry is getting  wrong about diversity. The Guardian. Retrieved from:

5 Selasi, T. Taiye Selasi: stop pigeonholing African writers. The Guardian. Retrieved from:

6 Oxfam (2015). Richest 1% will own more than all the rest by 2016. Retrieved from: