Though strides have been made in recent years, racism is a blight on communities in Cork, according to a number of anti-racism campaigners who have organised a march in the city this weekend to highlight the issue.
They 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 racism is still pervading Irish society, as is anti-Roma sentiment, and Islamophobia.
“It is more important than ever to mark World Anti-Racism Day. This year we are marching to oppose the continuing rise of the far right across Europe and in the US,” said Joe Moore from Anti-Deportation Ireland.
“Racism is still rampant. Borders and walls are being erected daily and the legal situation grows more precarious for asylum seekers and other migrants with the introduction of the International Protection Act in Ireland and Brexit in the UK.”
He said, however, that the recognition of Traveller ethnicity does give hope.
“[It] gives us hope of a significant move to greater equity for all our communities. We recognise that their fight continues and we stand with them as they call for an end to Traveller exclusion and the vindication of their rights to education, employment, health and culturally appropriate accommodation,” said Mr Moore.
“While scandals around so-called ‘Mother and Child’ homes and other disgraceful collaborations are publicly aired, the current government persists in its racist institutionalisation of those seeking asylum, isolating them in Direct Provision centres, and depriving them of access to education, work and other basic human rights.
“Children are particularly impacted on, cut off from friends and all normal childhood life. The inhumanity and violence of deportation persists, with levels soaring this year. Included among those deported are people who have lived here for a decade and more.”
He called on the people of Cork to speak out against this injustice, and to express solidarity with those affected by attending a march against racism this Saturday ahead of World Anti-Racism Day.
Demonstrators are asked to gather on Daunt Square at 2pm where several key organisations will have the opportunity to address the public before a march down Patrick Street.
Groups involved in the organisation of this event include The Traveller Visibility Group, The Islamic Centre, West Cork Travellers Group, Cork Traveller Womens Network, Anti-Deportation Ireland, Cork Says No To Racism and the North Cork Travellers Organisation.