Blog: It is high time to develop a comprehensive strategy to combat racism in Ireland

June 27, 2024
end racism

I was watching the European Athletics Championship in Italy with an Irish family and saw the stunning performance of the 21-year-old sprinter Rhasidat Adeleke. We were all excited and cheerful and had tears of joy watching the young Irish talented performance.  The whole country was cheerful and celebrated her success. 

The following week, as I was broadcasting on my radio show, I heard the top-of-hour news on the radio that Adeleke had been a victim of online racism and hate. I heard the words of her coach, ‘I think that’s probably the most pain I’ve seen her have. She was really in a dark place when she read those things on the internet. She doesn’t cry ever, so when she cries it’s like, oh my God, so that bothered her more than I ever thought, and I just let her handle it’.

Hearing that turned the happy moment to sadness.  An inspiring young woman, world-class champion, was having to endure online hatred by cowards trying to bring her down.

Although it was encouraging to see the solidarity shown by the media, community leaders, organisations across the whole of Ireland, the abuse Adeleke has faced is reflective of what many in our society are dealing with on a daily basis.

People in racialised and marginalised communities, migrants, ethnic minorities, women of colour, face double discrimination: social exclusion and racism based on the colour of their skin, plus the further marginalisation that comes with living in poverty, facing homelessness and economic insecurity.

Understanding the impact of racism on our children and young people is paramount to finding solutions. We hear of children that are losing interest in education due to racism they suffer at school. We see our young athletes suffering this on national television.

Racism hurts all of us, women, men and children in migrant and Irish communities. Any Irish person with basic human values would get upset about the Irish being called racist, because of a minute segment of society spreading hate.

An Irish lady I met once said to me that her heart burns to hear that there are some individuals that are racist and giving a bad name to Irish people, while they are also striving for a caring world. Her assurance brought tears to my eyes.  

It’s not a default that, as we become more diverse, we automatically become more inclusive. We need intentional practice in many areas. We have to differentiate between diversity and inclusion while envisioning integration.

We all have to make collective efforts, advocating for clearer policies around inclusion in all sectors of society. This is another wake-up call for our legislators and those who govern Irish sport to have measures in place to tackle this epidemic of hate.

It’s through training and education that minds can be informed, and hearts opened. It is time to create a culturally competent society to de-marginalise vulnerable people. We need the revival of Irish culture and our ancestor’s legacy in its true form.


Fahmeda Naheed works with Doras on EU-funded projects SALAAM (Sustainable Alliances against Anti-Muslim hate) and combatting racism in and through sports in the SCORE Project (Supporting Cities Opposing Racism in Europe)

If you have been a victim of racism or hate crime, Doras can provide you free and confidential support. Contact us today. Tel: 083 0086391 | Email: