VICTIMS of racist abuse and other forms of hate crime are being urged to use an online reporting facility for such offences.
The facility was launched yesterday and all reports made to it will be handled by the Garda Síochána National Diversity and Integration Unit (GNDIU).
Superintendent Michael Corbett, who served in the Cork North garda division until his transfer to the Garda National Community Engagement Bureau, told The Echo that hate crimes are occurring across the country, pointing to the recent case in Kerry where a teenager pleaded guilty to two charges arising from messages he sent to footballer Ian Wright after he lost a Fifa game on the PlayStation.
The messages were described in court as “crass and racist”.
Supt Corbett also said: “Hate crime is significantly underreported in Ireland, don’t suffer in silence.
"If you have been the victim of a hate crime please report it to An Garda Síochána, we are here to help you. Let’s stop hate together.”
Paula Fagan, CEO of LBGT Ireland and member of the Garda National Diversity Forum said: “This is a very welcome support to the victims of hate crime and the wider community.”
Dami Babade who reported an incident of a hate crime related assault to An Garda Síochána, said: “As a victim of hate crime assault I know the importance of reporting to the Gardaí. I’m delighted to support the launch of an online system for reporting it. We need to work together to tackle hate crime”.
Gardaí are concerned about the growth in popularity of far-right politics and views in Ireland, as well as “keyboard warriors” using social media.
The garda organisation is currently engaging with minority groups living in Ireland in a bid to attract members into the force, as part of its commitment to diversity in the organisation.
A garda statement said: “During the development of the Hate Crime and Cultural Diversity Training modules (for the organisation), the GNDIU have utilised representatives from a wide spectrum of groups to provide inputs and video content to enhance the learning experience for Garda members and staff. This has provided a welcome opportunity for diverse/minority groups to ensure their voices are heard and that their policing needs are reflected in future Diversity training.”
To ensure inclusivity, the Online Hate Crime module was developed (by Facing Facts) in conjunction with CEJI (A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe) and the Irish Network Against Racism in a consultancy role.
The online reporting facility can be accessed at www.garda.ie.