More than a hundred people took to the streets of Cork at the weekend to march against racism and discrimination.
The protest, which lasted for almost an hour, saw demonstrators gather at Daunt Square on Saturday before parading up and down Patrick Street, banners in hand.
“I think for the people of Cork to come out here and make such a public statement that racism will not be tolerated… I think that’s very important. It’s a very important statement to make,” said one demonstrator.
“At the end of the day, we’re all just people. We’re all the same. Nobody should be made to feel like a second-class citizen,” said another.
One of the organisers of the event, Joe Moore from Anti-Deportation Ireland, said he was delighted that people took time out of their busy St Patrick’s Day weekend’s to attend the march.
“There was a decent enough turnout and many different groups were represented including muslims, asylum seekers, members of the Travelling community, and the Ireland-Palestine solidarity campaign,” he said.
“The march was held to mark World Anti-Racism Day which takes place every year on March 21. Other marches are taking place all around the world in places like London, Cardiff and Edinburgh, so it was great to lend our voices to that global movement as well.” Mr Moore said that while strides have been made in recent years, racism is still very much an issue in Cork, and in Ireland in general.
He said that while the Travelling community, a traditionally marginalised group, saw a hard-won victory this year in relation to the State formally recognising their ethnicity, anti-Traveller discrimination is still pervading Irish society, as is anti-Roma sentiment, and Islamophobia.
Cork City Councillor Mick Nugent also attended the march. He said that while it is only a minority of people now who carry out physical and verbal abuse motivated by racism, even one such instance is one too many.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen racism first hand, but you do hear about incidents happening. I think on the main Cork is a fairly welcoming city, but that’s not to downplay when there are incidents,” he said.
“But over the years, whether it’s solidarity with the Palestinian people, or with refugees, when there are events for those groups, the people of Cork do come out for them. I think there is a lot of solidarity from people in Cork with those who come to this country.”