"If you feel uncomfortable, if you feel threatened, you should report it to An Garda Síochána."
Gardaí today announced the launch of a new 3-year strategy which they hope will assist in combating racism in Ireland.
Predominantly, the strategy is focused on the introduction of a working definition of 'Hate Crime' which was today introduced as: "Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person to, in whole or in part, be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on actual or perceived age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender".
The introduction of the legislation follows a high-profile incident of racism in Ireland where a young mixed-race familyleft Ireland after receiving a torrent of racial abuse and death threats towards themselves and their one-year-old son.
The family reported the abuse to Gardaí but were told it was a civil matter and that there was nothing the police could do to help them-- thereby, according to Ms Ryan and Mr Mathis, "highlighting there is no real hate-crime legislation".
Now however, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has confirmed that Gardaí are indeed investigating the profiles of people who sent racist abuse targeted at Ms Ryan, Mr Mathis and their son, according to The Independent.
Speaking in Dublin at the launch of the new Garda initiative, Mr Harris said:
"We remain in contact with the Ryan family. We are now in the process of identifying individuals, identifying those we believe are suspects of offences that may have been committed.
"And then we will go through a process of interviewing them, gathering evidence and reporting that matter to the DPP.
"There's an investigation on-going with the outcome of bringing individuals to justice".
Speaking to reporters about the newly introduced working 'Hate Crime' definition, he acknowledged that instances of racism have been under-reported and is now encouraging the public to report any and all incidents of discrimination.
"If you feel uncomfortable, if you feel threatened, you should report it to An Garda Síochána," he said.