A racist incident reporting card has been launched by the Galway Anti Racism Network in response to what is says are "countless incidents of racial abuse and assault" in the city.
The report card was launched on Wednesday as March 21 is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The card will display a number and email address and all reporting is confidential. GARN will link with community gardaí, trade unions, and other interested groups in order to "make the card effective and a useful community tool".
According to GARN chair, Joe Loughnane, migrant workers are most at risk of racial abuse as many "carry out their duties at night", while Travellers "face daily occurrences of institutional racism". He also noted that asylum seekers are "systematically discriminated against in the centres they are forced to reside in".
"The majority of these incidents never get reported," said Mr Loughnane. "The victims fear they won't be believed, while witnesses have been frustrated by the lack of action on behalf of the authorities. With this card, GARN hopes to help this reporting process. We also hope to record these episodes through the iReport website. This will allow for a more realistic report on Galway when the data is processed by the European Network Against Racism Ireland."
In September 2017, the Central Statistics Office's Migration and Diversity report confirmed Galway as "the most multicultural city in Ireland", with 18.6 per cent of residents identifing as "non-Irish". Mr Loughnane said this is a reality that Galway must protect and celebrate, and as a result, face down racism in any circumstance.
"Galway must set an example for other counties," jhe said. "We should embrace the various cultures that call this city home. That means celebrating Traveller culture and including culturally-appropriate Traveller accommodation in our local development plans. That means granting the right to work to the residents of the Eglinton and the Great Western and leading the campaign calling for the end of direct provision. It means marking Iftar with our various Muslim communities and thanking every African Taxi driver who drives us home after a night out."