Lack of Government Leadership on Racism Must be Addressed – Show Racism the Red Card – Sports stars help anti-racism charity launch new education pack at Croke Park Government and policymakers in Ireland are failing to tackle racism, and their complacence must be challenged. That’s according to the anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card, which today (19.03.13) launched a new education pack at Croke Park, Dublin.Greta Perevalovaite and Rafael Meba, right, from Blakestown Community School, Dublin, in attendance at the launch of a new Educational Pack by Show Racism the Red Card.The education pack is aimed at tackling racism in schools and sports clubs, and includes written and video testimonies from a host of well-known sportspeople. Those featured include Ireland internationals Seamus Coleman and Seán St. Ledger; GAA stars Lee Chin, Barry Cahill and Cliona O’Connor; and Leinster and Ireland rugby player Seán O’Brien.In attendance at the launch of a new Educational Pack by Show Racism the Red Card are, from left, Republic of Ireland footballer Ciaran Clarke, Greta Perevalovaite, from Blakestown Community School, Dublin, Eoin McCafferty, from Show Racism the Red Card, former Dublin footballer Barry Cahill, Rafael Meba, from Blakestown Community School, and Dessie Farrell, Chief Exceutive, Gaelic Players Association. Show Racism the Red Card Launch New Educational Pack, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Paul Mohan Speaking at the launch of the pack, Garrett Mullan, Coordinator of Show Racism the Red Card, said community and voluntary organisations have become more active in tackling racism – partly because of the Government’s failure to do so.Paraic Duffy, Director General of the GAA speaking at the launch of the new education pack of Show Racism the Red Card.“In recent years, racism and integration have been getting scant attention at government and policymaking levels,” he said. “Since the onset of the recession, immigration has declined and, as a result, there may be a perception that racism is no longer a problem. Funding has been slashed for bodies that promote integration and, in some cases, anti-racism programmes have been shut down.“While we welcome the support we have received from government to deliver our work, more needs to be done – at political level, but also by society as a whole – to tackle racism. Many of the hundreds of thousands of people who migrated to Ireland in recent decades have made this country their home. The last Census showed nearly one in five people who live here were born outside Ireland. First and second-generation migrants are more and more visible in economic, social and cultural life.“Yet, despite the multiple benefits diversity has brought, challenges around discrimination remain. Serious incidents of racism are commonplace. And the recession has contributed to a misplaced perception that migrants are a threat to the ‘native’ Irish and are unfairly benefitting from Irish jobs and entitlements.”According to Mr. Mullan, sports and education bodies are playing an increasingly important role in tackling racism.“Show Racism the Red Card works with hundreds of schools and sports clubs throughout Ireland,” he said. “While the Government’s focus on integration has waned, it is heartening to see grassroots groups acknowledging and responding to racism.“National sports organisations are also proactive. We were delighted to work with the GAA, the Gaelic Players’ Association, the FAI and the IRFU in producing our new education pack. Furthermore, individual players have been to the fore in challenging racist attitudes.“The actions of these groups and individuals are really putting it up to the Government. If we, as ordinary citizens, can see that racism exists and that steps must be taken to combat it, then our national leaders should do likewise.“The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance published its most recent report on Ireland last month, which pointed to a number of policy and legislative gaps and failings. As current holders of the Presidency of the EU, Ireland is perfectly placed to demonstrate global leadership on tackling racism.“Education is critical in dispelling racist attitudes. Over the coming months, Show Racism the Red Card plans to engage with the Government and, in particular, the Department of Education to explore how anti-racism initiatives can be more formally built into the Irish schools system.The new Show Racism the Red Card education pack is made up of a DVD and accompanying handbook, designed for use in classrooms or youth group settings. It provides activities and exercises, aimed at promoting respect for diversity and informing young people about how to respond to racism. As well as sports stars, students from schools in Dublin and Donegal are featured.On the DVD, a number of contributors speak about their own experiences of racism, including:A young camogie-player of African origin, who says “while camogie is my favourite sport, I get a lot of abuse, with people from other teams saying that I should not be playing this sport because I am not Irish”.
- A teenager originally from Lithuania who has lived in Dublin from an early age, who describes how her experiences of racism “started when I was eight years old and other children would tell me to go back to my own country”.
- Wexford’s dual GAA star Lee Chin, who tells how a friend of his sister experienced suicidal feelings at the age of 10 because of racist abuse.
A number of the sportspeople featured in the education pack were present at today’s launch, and the event was addressed by Páraic Duffy, Director General of the GAA. Further information about the new education pack is available at www.theredcard.ie. Sample video footage from the pack can be seen at: www.youtube.com/theredcardire.