Tuesday, 7 November 2006
Leaders' Questions (Resumed).
Pat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
This is Anti-Racist Workplace Week and it is appropriate that the Dáil should mark that. It coincides with the publication of the first major survey, conducted by the ESRI, on the incidence of racism in our society. The survey concludes that the incidence of racism in Ireland is lower than in other European countries, particularly in southern Europe, but the ESRI says there is no reason to be complacent as a result. The figures set out in the survey are quite serious. More than one in three immigrants experiences harassment, more than 20% experience job discrimination, a similar percentage experiences being passed over for promotion and others are denied access to credit and loan finance. The graph is very telling in terms of casual discrimination against immigrants, for example, in shops and restaurants and so on.
The Government published its report, Planning for Diversity — The National Action Plan Against Racism 2005-2008, last year. I do not have a serious quibble with the philosophy or goals set out in the report, except that underpinning it with only €1 million means the good sentiments in the report cannot be taken at face value, when one considers the scale of discrimination exposed in the ESRI report and that this is our first generation of immigrants. We do not yet have second generation immigrants and the ESRI warns to us to beware as a result.