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Varadkar: Ireland has a racism problem and needs an 'anti-racism campaign'

By Sarah Finnan

June 10, 2020 at 3:47pm


Speaking on 2FM, An Taoiseach agreed that Ireland has a racism problem to "some degree" and that though he's faced racist comments in the past, it's not something he tends to "talk about too much".

A guest on the 2FM Breakfast Show this morning, Leo Varadkar popped on to speak to hosts Doireann Garrihy and Eoghan McDermott. Asking him about his own experiences with racism, the Taoiseach said that it's not something he often talks about.

Admitting that Ireland has a problem with racism to "some degree", Varadkar said that like most mixed-race people in the country he was aware of being treated differently while growing up.

“Anyone who grew up in Ireland mixed race like me would be aware of the fact that people,  when you look and sound different or you have a funny surname, people treat you differently and it isn’t always nice.

It’s not something I talk about too much because it hasn’t held me back. If anything, it's probably pushed me on, also I had a lot of other privileges that helped counteract those disadvantages.”

Adding that the issue of young people of colour being made to feel as though they're not fully Irish is a definite cause for concern, Varadkar went on to say that the Government would have to consider new laws around hate speech and anti-racism.

"It’s not easy to do because you don’t want to shut down freedom of speech either but we need to make some more progress on that. We need an anti-racism campaign as well just to raise awareness about it."

The Taoiseach also confirmed that there are efforts being made to revise the current Government roadmap, which hopefully would allow for the country to be "almost fully open" by mid-July. So, there's cause for hope yet.

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