Security guard abused by teens and woman punched in the face as racist hate crimes rise across Ireland

Security guard abused by teens and woman punched in the face as racist hate crimes rise across Ireland

A ‘DISAPPOINTING’ increase in hate crimes has been recorded in Ireland – with racist, homophobic and nationalistic motives most prevalent among the offences.

An Garda Síochána has published figures which show 582 hate crimes and hate related (non-crime) incidents were recorded by the force in 2022.

The figures, which break down to 510 hate crimes and 72 hate related (non-crime) incidents, show a nine per cent increase on the previous year.

Some 448 hate crime incidents were recorded in 2021, which broke down to 389 and 59 incidents respectively.

While sharing the figures, the police force has also revealed some of the shocking instances of hate crime that occurred across Ireland last year.

In one case a security guard was racially abused by three young teenage boys, who were arrested and released into custody of their parents, after being cautioned under the Juvenile Diversion Programme.

Another case saw an Eastern European woman in her 50s racially abused and punched twice in the faced by a man in his 30s, who then kicked her while she was on the ground.

Charges against the man are currently pending before the Circuit Court, Gardai confirm.

A third instance saw a non-Irish white male aged in his 60s verbally abused, threatened and intimidated by another man, also aged in his 60s.

That man was convicted in a District Court and forced to pay a €2000 fine.

Another man, aged in his 30s, was arrested for Public Order offences, which included homophobic abuse, and received a three-month jail sentence after being convicted in a District Court.

The Gardai confirm that the injured party did not make a compliant about the abuse directed at them, but the abuser was arrested as a police officer had witnessed the incident.

The police force explains that their policy is that "reports of hate crimes or hate incidents will be recorded and investigated as appropriate, where it is perceived that the perpetrator’s hostility or prejudice against any person, community or institution is on the grounds of the victim’s age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender”.

For 2022 a total of 617 discriminatory motives were recorded – although some incidents have more than one discriminatory motive - an increase on the 483 motives recorded in 2021.

“The most prevalent discriminatory motive was race (32 per cent), followed by sexual orientation (22 per cent) and nationality (21 per cent),” they confirm.

“Incidents were recorded across all nine discriminatory motives,” they explain, before adding: “Hate motives were evident in a range of incidents in 2022, the largest percentage being public order (30 pe cent), minor assaults (20 per cent), assault causing harm (nine per cent) and criminal damage (eight per cent).”

The largest proportion of hate related incidents (47 per cent) reported in 2022 occurred in the Dublin Metropolitan Region, the figures show.

Across the other three operational regions similar proportions of incidents were recorded – namely 15 per cent in the southern region, 20 per cent in the north-western region and 18 per cent in the eastern region.

Responding to the figures, Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, whose remit includes the Garda National Diversity and Integration Unit, said: "An Garda Síochána continues to have a strong focus on investigating crimes with a hate motive and supporting the victims of these crimes.

“An Garda Síochána recognises that hate crimes have a huge impact on victims, specifically because they are targeted because of a characteristic of who they are.

“These crimes also have a significant impact on wider communities and society”.

Assistant Commissioner Hilman added: “These statistics of incidents reported to An Garda Síochána in 2022 with a hate motive build on the baseline figures published for 2021.

“The level of reporting has increased overall.

“While it is disappointing that any incidents occur which have a hate related motive, it is positive to see more victims coming forward to An Garda Síochána and reporting their experiences.”

Assistant Commissioner Hilman added: “We all need as a community to consistently highlight and call out discrimination and hate where it occurs.

“I urge any person who has experienced or observed prejudice to come forward and report those incidents to us. I can assure people that complaints will be dealt with thoroughly and professionally.”