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Friday, January 21, 2022

An Garda Síochána make financial contribution to Pavee Point over racist incident

An Garda Síochána has agreed to make a financial contribution to Pavee Point over a racist incident that occurred back in 2017.

The settlement was reached with a US professor who alleged that a member of the force made racist remarks to her about the Roma and Traveller communities.

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Chair of the European Roma Rights Centre Professor Ethel Brooks was passing through immigration at Dublin Airport on her way to participate in Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.

Brooks, who is of Romani heritage, stated that upon explaining the reason for her visit to an immigration officer, the officer responded with “Right, those people who steal and beg.”

Upon informing the officer of her heritage, brooks was met with the following comment, “Well you’ve never been to Milan where you stand at an ATM and they’ll just force you to give them all your money – and you see it constantly in Dublin you have to watch your purse as well.”

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She added that the officer made reference to the minority status that was granted to Travellers and Roma earlier that year.

“The border guard said: ‘And now they’ve got minority status and they’re going to be taking social benefits and doing all sorts of things … It’s really just about people’s actions … It’s really about the ways in which you can’t really live beside them’.”

Brooks took a discrimination case against the force which reached settlement on Thursday before the Circuit Court.

During the settlement, the force acknowledged that Brooks was “distressed and offended by her experience with An Garda Síochána whilst going through immigration in Dublin Airport, and that all persons should be treated with courtesy and respect regardless of background or ethnicity”.

The force agreed to make a financial contribution to Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre and agreed to be “committed to the provision of training to all members of An Garda Síochána in relation to their responsibilities under the Equal Status Acts”.

She stated, “I was very shocked and distressed by the comments made to me by An Garda Síochána on that date in 2017, and was quite shaken by the whole experience. It was something I never expected.”

IMAGE – Gardainfo/Twitter

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