Racist Incident Log Roma Integration Association
© Roma Integration Association 2016
Anti-Roma Racism All across Europe and beyond Roma communities have faced discrimination and racism for centuries.  During the communist era in Central and Eastern Europe nomadism was effectively outlawed as the authorities sought to homogenise society.  In the former Czechoslovakia Roma women were sterilized in maternity hospitals without their knowledge.  Although conditions varied across Communist Bloc countries, Roma were often pushed to the margins and were not integrated with the wider society.  The collapse of communism in 1989 saw the emergence of open hostility against Roma in several Eastern Bloc countries.  For example, a series of pogroms in Romania in the early 1990s saw many Roma burned out of their homes and villages. Unfortunately, the westward migration of Roma has seen the growth of racism and discrimination directed at Roma in Western European countries.  Impoverishment has seen some Roma turn to begging and low level crime in order to survive in countries where they were often denied access to social welfare. In Ireland, due to the habitual residency conditions, many Roma are not entitled to any social welfare or medical assistance.  The minority of Roma who engage in begging have been accused of being part of organised gangs, although no evidence has ever been produced to substantiate such claims.  Anti-Roma Racist Incidents in Ireland Anecdotal evidence suggests that members of the Roma community in Ireland are subject to on-going low-level racism in the form of casual name-calling or taunting about their ethnic identity.  In one case a Roma father living in Druncondra dreads his children going to school or to the playground as they frequently return upset due to name-calling by other children. Similarly, many Roma attest to the particular and unwelcome attention they receive from shopkeepers and security staff.  It would appear that Roma ethnicity is often interpreted as an indicator of criminality. Unfortunately, Roma in Ireland have also been subject to racism in the form of physical attacks.  The following list presents some of the more serious incidents reported to the Roma Integration Association: 2008-2012: A Roma family living in Coolock have been subject to on-going racist abuse and attack from their immediate neighbour and other neighbours as well as other individuals.  Despite numerous appeals to Dublin City Council to be moved, the family remain living at the same location in a house where all the windows been broken. Feb 2012: Following an altercation between Roma and locals in Tallaght the Roma family home was set alight forcing the family to relocate. Feb 2013: a Roma teenager was badly beaten in Tallaght and suffered broken bones in his cheek and nose. All the above cases were reported to Gardai but no prosecutions are pending.  Rightly or wrongly, the perception among the Roma community is that the Gardai are unwilling to pursue these cases because the victim are Roma.  This is leading to an unwillingness on the part of many Roma to report racist incidents to the Gardai.

Empowering and Representing Ethnic Roma Minorities and their Organisations in Ireland