This morning in the Seanad Senator Zappone asked for a debate on the Government's support for victims of racism an 85% increase in reports of racism. The Deputy Leader, Senator Ivana Bacik, confirmed that she would asked the Leader of the House for such a debate. Senator Zappone said,
"Following recent studies by the Immigrant Council of Ireland I think it is important the Government re-assess the supports it offers to victims of racism.
The Immigrant Council confirms that following an extensive awareness campaign it recordedan 85% jump in incidents with a total of 144 cases responded to during 2013. As we are aware from media reports this week it was also confirmed that reports of racism to the PSNI are 700% higher than those to Gardai, Even allowing for possible differences in legal definitions and laws the gap is huge. It seems clear that victims of racism do not have confidence in our current reporting systems.
I think that the Immigrant Council findings are a wake-up call we cannot ignore. So I am asking the Deputy Leader to arrange a debate with the Minister for Justice on the supports offered to victims of racism. It would be useful to hear:
What steps will be taken to assure victims they have nothing to fear in coming forward?
If the Minister will introduce an independent reporting system which victims can access 24 hours a day- as already offered by the PSNI and other police forces?
If he will review current legislation to ensure it is robust enough to respond to racism in all its forms?"