Racism in Northern Irish Society

2918 words 12 pages
Q. Racism in Ireland and Northern Ireland is on the rise. Critically assess the explanations for this rise in either Ireland or Northern Ireland. (Word Count 2265)

This working paper attempts to gain a better understanding of the causes of racism within Northern Ireland. In order to do this effectively, it is first necessary to look at the diverse meaning of racism as well as providing statistics to show that racism is a continuing problem within contemporary society. These statistics alone pose many problems through their collection and their questionable inability of response by the police and the criminal justice system (Haughey 2012). Policies and strategies that are put in place to tackle
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In looking at the reasons for high levels of racism within Northern Ireland, it is crucial to point out that it exists throughout the state as well as individuals. State policies and institutions can be said to be contributing to this pattern of racism (Gilligan 2009). Racist myths such as ‘immigrants have caused the social housing crisis’ underlay racist attitudes and this is not actually the case as immigrants generally are not entitled to social housing (Belfast counterfire 2011). This is why many immigrants tend to privately rent accommodation which leads to major over0 crowding of households. The case is similar to that of benefit entitlement, which has meant many immigrants, especially Romanian, have been reduced to begging on the streets. It can therefore be said that UK restrictions on migrants is racist in itself as it in a way promotes immigrants as second class citizens (Gilligan 2009). There is also the perception that ‘immigrants take ‘our’ jobs,’ however, unemployment was lower five years ago when immigration was at it’s peak. Again, this goes hand in hand with restrictions in UK law which makes it very difficult for immigrants to get jobs. Some would argue that the measures introduced by David Cameron have brought about unemployment alongside the recession (Belfast Counterfire 2011).

According to the Guardian (2010) a report showed how race crime increased in the run up to The British


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