Courts must treat race-hate crime severely, conference told

An anti-racism rally held  in Nutgrove, Rathfarnham earlier this week, in response to  a recent attack on three Afghans in the area. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times
Racially motivated crimes must be treated severely by the courts because they damage community relations and “tear apart the fabric of society”, a conference in Limerick has heard.

Speaking at the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) seminar exploring Islamophobia in Ireland, Shane O’Curry, ENAR director, said the event was organised to highlight the increasing number of racist incidents its reporting system has recorded, in particular against members of the Muslim community.

“It’s vitally important that An Garda Síochána, the courts and the whole criminal justice system be given the full range of tools to deal adequately with the threat of bias-motivated crimes; that is crimes that are targeted at particular communities because of their backgrounds, whether religious or otherwise,” he said.

ENAR representatives were among those who attended a rally in Dublin earlier this week to show their solidarity with two men and a boy from Afghanistan who were attacked in Rathfarnham.

“Hate crimes need to be treated more severely, because they damage community relations they can really tear apart the fabric of our society,” Mr O’Curry said.

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