August 2015        

Racist crime raises its ugly head

Paul Doran

There is nothing more detestable than the hate some people have for people of colour or people of a different ethnicity. This disgusting trait has recently raised its ugly head in Clondalkin, Co. Dublin.
     On Saturday 4 July, while volunteering for his local Tidy Towns group, Mr Alpha Gassama was physically assaulted at Tower Road, in broad daylight. Mr Gassama, who is a sociologist and a teacher by profession, is originally from Guinea in West Africa. He came to Ireland over eleven years ago and spent ten of those years in the direct-provision system.
     Two thugs jumped out of a car as he walked past, minding his own business, and attacked him with baseball bats. He received a leg injury that needed hospital treatment. The local community rallied around Mr Gassama and gave their support to the victim.
     In another racist attack in Clondalkin on 14 July a woman had the words “Blacks out” painted across the front of her home while her children slept. She has said that she will never return to the area. The woman, who did not want to be identified, told the local Clondalkin Echo that she found the event traumatic and even moved her children to Co. Donegal to escape the racism. She also had her tyres slashed on three separate occasions before this incident.
     These racist attacks are now commonplace, not only in Clondalkin but all over Ireland and within the EU. A total of 47,210 racist crimes were officially recorded in 2013, but this is only the tip of the iceberg, as many EU member-states do not properly record and report racially motivated crimes. Only a third of EU countries have recorded and published information on racist crimes for 2013. In addition, many victims feel ashamed, as they do not trust the police or do not think that their testimony will change anything. This often leads to individuals not coming forward to report racist crimes.
     The question must be asked: why do people feel that it is pointless to lodge complaints with the police? Is it that they feel their voices are not being heard here in Clondalkin? We have had the present minister for justice (a TD based in Clondalkin) speak on how she will tackle racism, but the proof of that should show a rise in the reportage of hate and racist crimes, not to mention an end to the Gardaí not even recording racist attacks on their PULSE system.
     This minister was formerly minister for children, yet in her own constituency child abuse, racketeering and prostitution take place within the direct-provision facilities in Clondalkin.

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