THE streets of Cork rang out with chants of “One race, human race”, “Travellers’ rights, human rights”, and “Migration is a human right” as the Cork Says No to Racism coalition marked World Anti-Racism Day.
With a Garda escort, a good-humoured crowd of around 150 activists from diverse anti-racism groups marched down the South Mall, through Parnell Place and Merchants Quay, up St Patrick’s St, and back to the Grand Parade in Saturday sunshine.
Among the groups in attendance were Anti-Deportation Ireland, Black Lives Matter Cork, Cork Anti-Racism Network, and Cork Islamic Information Centre.
Several Traveller groups were in attendance, including Cork Traveller Women’s Network, East Cork Traveller Project, Traveller Visibility Group, and West Cork Travellers.
Rally organiser Joe Moore said the response of the Government to the Ukrainian refugee crisis, while commendable, highlighted a “policy of exclusion that greets people arriving into direct provision”.
People Before Profit-Solidarity TD Mick Barry said the welcome afforded Ukrainian refugees had been a very positive and heartening development.
“Society and the State need to be equally welcoming to refugees from other countries as well,” said Mr Barry.
Mr Moore cited prejudice suffered by members of the Travelling community as evidence of rampant racism in Ireland.
“Travellers have been the victims of discrimination since the foundation of the State 100 years ago this year, and it’s only in the last five years that Traveller ethnicity was recognised in the Dáil, but what had that changed? Probably nothing,” said Mr Moore.
Sinn Féin city councillors Mick Nugent and Kenneth Collins, marching beneath a Palestinian flag, said they support the rally every year.
“I think it’s important to support World Anti-Racism Day, especially as Ireland becomes more diverse and more multicultural,” said Mr Nugent.
Mr Collins said there should be no place for racism in this country.
“It’s always very dispiriting when you hear racism here, but I think we all have a duty to tackle such talk,”said Mr Collins.