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Anti-Racism in Ashbourne

Posted 30 Mar. 2014

In recent years, Ashbourne has become a multicultural town; the home of many different people, cultures and nationalities. The integration of multinationals into the community is pivotal to sculpting Ashbourne into the ideal place to live in as it creates bonds and friendships between people of all ethnic backgrounds. In light of European Action Week against Racism that is celebrated annually on the 21st of March, the issue of racism in Ashbourne should be highlighted. Despite a perceived acceptance of multinationals, there are still instances of racist abuse occurring in the town. 

At closing time on St. Patrick’s night, an incident occurred in one of the local Chinese takeaways where a group of youths entered the premises and – after behaving highly inappropriately – verbally insulted a female member of staff with offensive words targeted at her race. “This is very disappointing, especially in Ireland, where we of all people should be sensitive to and welcoming of immigrants; with our ancestors being forced to leave the country during the famine and our current people now leaving Ireland to work abroad”, says local area Fine Gael representative, Alan Tobin. While this incident may be passed off as young people joking around, it must be stressed that any comments related to race or ethnicity – however benign or unserious they seem – can be very hurtful to another person. 

We must be conscious of how children can often reflect their parents’ attitudes to others so we can then focus on fostering within them the importance of equality in our society. Ultimately, Ashbourne should be a town where native Irish and non-native members of the community live together in harmony without the ugly taint of racism affecting everyday life.