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Question

68. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if her attention has been drawn to the latest iReport from the European Network Against Racism Ireland and that this report details 190 reports of racist incidents for a six month period, higher than all previously recorded periods; if her attention has been further drawn to the fact that this includes at least 150 criminal offences, 79 incidents of verbal abuse and 83 incidents involving illegal discrimination; and her plans to address these matters. [40207/16]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): I am of course concerned about any level of racist incidents and particularly racist crime and can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána monitors this type of crime very carefully. The Deputy will appreciate that the specific investigative strategies which may be deployed in relation to such crimes are a matter for the Garda authorities in the first instance. It is of course essential that anyone with information in relation to racist and other hate crimes provides full details to An Garda Síochána.
The Garda Racial Intercultural and Diversity Office (GRIDO) has responsibility for coordinating, monitoring and advising on all aspects of policing Ireland's diverse communities. GRIDO monitors the reporting and recording of hate and racist crime on a continual basis. Garda Ethnic Liaison Officers (ELOs) are appointed to work with minority communities at local level throughout the country. These officers combined with GRIDO play a fundamental role in liaising with minority groups and work in partnership to encourage tolerance, respect and understanding within communities in the pursuit of preventing the commission of hate and racist crime. GRIDO and ELOs provide advice and assistance to victims of hate or racist crime where required or deemed necessary.
In addition to the work of the Gardaí, the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration, an Office of my Department, is the focal point for the Government's commitment on anti-racism as a key aspect of integration, diversity management and broader national social policy. The Office continues to work with all the relevant sectors to further progress the integration and diversity management agenda.
A review of our approach to the integration of migrants has almost neared completion. This review will provide the basis for a new and updated migrant integration strategy. Work on the Integration Strategy is very advanced and is expected to be published early in the New Year. I expect that the Integration Strategy, when published, will include a strong anti-racism component.
Finally, in light of reports by civil society, the experience of other jurisdictions, changes in Irish society and the use of the internet and social media, this area of the criminal law is to be examined with a view to considering whether further legislative proposals are needed to strengthen the law.