Ireland seeing a rise in racism, Taoiseach warns

The remains of a migrant camp in Sandwith Street, Dublin, following a protest in May where it was dismantled and later set alight Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said there has been a rise in racism in Ireland.

The Fine Gael leader said this was “very evident” from people protesting outside accommodation centres for refugees and spreading “nonsense” conspiracy theories around replacement ideology.

He added: “And then people actually using violence against people who are of a different colour or of a different ethnic background and that’s a matter of real concern.”

Mr Varadkar was responding to a question on whether he believed there was a rise of the far right in Ireland.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar shakes hands with Ukrainian actor Oleksandr Hrekov, who was attacked in Dublin Credit: right

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris had previously said Ireland had not seen the same rise of the far right as other European countries.

Asked if he agreed, the Taoiseach said he did not want to interpret the words of the commissioner but that he “picked up” that he was referring to far-right politicians being elected to parliament or government.

Mr Varadkar said: “We’re not there yet. To the extent that we have far-right parties at all, they’re not significantly represented in the Dail.

“But we are seeing a rise in racism, that’s very evident to me.”

He said that is why the Government has a national strategy against racism and is pursuing hate crime legislation.

Mr Varadkar added: “I see some people dismissing hate crimes as being wokeism or, you know, domestic and gender-based violence as being some form of wokeism. I totally disagree with that view of things.

“You know, a murder is a serious crime and assault is a serious crime. Hate crime is a serious crime, crime against women and men that’s gender-based or sexual, these are all serious crimes and we need to treat them all seriously.”