South African man takes landmark case on racism in Irish courts - POLL
Is Ireland a racist country?
Patrick Maphoso, originally from South Africa appeared at Dublin Criminal Court last Tuesday for the hearing of two Irish men who allegedly attacked him in 2009.
Maphoso claims he was the victim of a racial attack when he was canvassing for the local elections in Ireland two years ago. Under Irish law, legal residents who have been in the country for more than five years can run for local office.
“The state will be laying charges under the Incitement of Hatred Act,” Maphoso said referring to the proceedings. “This is a landmark case (as it is) the first time that someone has been taken to the criminal court on that (racism) case.”
Maphoso alleges that while campaigning for a seat on the Dublin City Council, the two men came up to him and told him that: “If I didn’t want a bullet in my head, I must get out of the road”.
“It wasn’t a drunk person, they really meant it,” he said.
“The guy said that black people make him sick and that I should go.”
Although he failed to win a seat he received widespread coverage relating to the alleged racial abuse he fell victim to.
Living in Ireland since 2001, Maphoso is a South African citizen and an “Irish resident”.
He claims that racism has increased in Ireland since the downturn began.
In related news the Irish Government is being urged to make renewed efforts to protect people from racism by the European Network Against Racism Ireland.
During last Monday’s International Day Against Racism in Ireland, the network said there was evidence to support the claims that racist incidents were on the increase, based on their recent report.
“Findings from the report on Ireland indicate that racism has fallen off the political agenda. This is of significant concern, given the risks at the moment including the recession and the rise of extremism in EU member states,” said Catherine Lynch author of the report.
“If we continue to ignore the problem, racism will be fallout of the current recession,” she added.
According to the Migration Policy Index, Ireland is among the least prepared states to help new immigrants enter the Irish school system.
“Ireland shows little respect for the family life of its non-EU residents and discourages their integration once arrived,” says the report
The international study compared integration policies in 31 countries and concluded that “boom time funding and projects” failed to create systems to enable Irish schools to address and monitor the needs of migrant children.
“Migrants with specific needs enjoy less favorable targeted measures than in most new immigration countries,” says the report.
“Government is restricting family access to work, increasing fees and cutting funds, including for the Equality Authority, which may undermine its discrimination work,” it says.
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