IRISH society must not "rest on its laurels" where recent incidents of religious intolerance and xenophobic behaviour are concerned, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has warned.
In an address at the Mater Dei Institute in Dublin,
the archbishop said we all lived with "inherited prejudices,
misunderstandings and stereotypes" which can "subtly and rapidly raise
their ugly heads if we are not attentive".
Elsewhere in his
address at the first ever Christian, Muslim and Jewish conference on
dialogue in Ireland, Archbishop Martin said Ireland had no wish to
remain as a "closed monolithic culture on an island isolated from what
is happening around the world".
The Primate of Ireland said
dialogue between faiths was not just for scholars and theologians,
adding: "It is a public good even in societies that proclaim themselves
His comments were made just weeks after the Muslim
community in Ireland reported a series of sickening hate-mail letters
which were sent to mosques and homes.
Archbishop Martin told the Irish Independent:
"Here in Ireland, we have to learn to understand one another, to
appreciate one another and you can only do that if you want to come
He cited the example of Nelson Mandela,
saying his great achievement was to teach all of us that there is only
one way to respond to conflict – not by revenge, but by bringing people
"In any conflict, it is those who rise above the narrow confines of their own group and reach out to others," he said.
new figures from the Immigrant Council of Ireland show that reports of
racism and hate crimes increased by 85pc during 2013.
January of this year, 142 incidents have been reported, compared to 77
over the same period last year. The incidents peaked during the summer
Most cases occurred in local
communities (21pc) or workplaces (20pc) but victims were also subjected
to racist abuse while accessing government or community services,
travelling on public transport and on the street.
The incidents related
predominantly to verbal harassment but also to written abuse, the ICI
Denise Charlton, chief executive of the Immigrant Council of
Ireland, described the increase in reported racism as "alarming".
said it showed the reality that people were facing in their