By Shwetali Sapte
A mother of two has been forced to leave her family home in west Dublin following a series of racial attacks.
On 14 July, the woman, known as Jane, found the words ‘Blacks out’ spray-painted across the windows of her home in Clondalkin.
Previously her car tires had been slashed on three separate occasions, all attacks committed by unknown assailants.
After the most recent incident, Jane – who is originally from Ghana and is living in Ireland for 14 years – sent her children to stay with a friend in Donegal and herself moved with another friend in Dublin.
“My neighbours came to show their support,” she told Metro Éireann, describing how the local community rallied to help clean up her home.
“I feel like I am a part of the community. But one or two people are trying to destroy the relationship we have built.”
Although the locals urged her to stay in the neighbourhood, the woman considers it unsafe to raise her children in such an environment.
She told Metro Éireann that she feels personally victimised, saying: “I’m not a criminal for somebody to attack me like this. They didn’t even think that I have two young children.”
Councillor Gino Kenny, who represents Clondalkin on South Dublin County Council and organised the clean-up, said she “was happy in the community but doesn’t feel safe in the house…Unfortunately we live in a world with racism [but] community response is a good way to tackle such incidents.”
Following the attack, Jane called gardaí and feels satisfied with their handling of the situation. She said she appreciates their help with the other attacks she has experienced as well.
Nevertheless, Jane has now moved out of the area permanently because of the impact on her children.
“This isn’t good for my children or any other child… I saw some of the kids in my area crying. [The attacks] are not just against me, they are against everybody.”
In a recent interview with RTÉ Radio 1, Jane’s 12-year-old son Daniel said he was daunted by the prospect of changing schools after the family’s sudden move away from Clondalkin.
“I was sad because we made too much good friends there and we just had to leave. All the neighbours are really nice there,” he said.
Gardaí at Clondalkin are investigating the incident and are appealing for information. Individuals and communities are also encouraged to report similar incidents anywhere in Ireland to their local gardaí.
In addition, the European Network Against Racism (Enar) has set up a secure online reporting system at www.ireport.ie. The system ensures that reports are confidential and provides the opportunity to take further action.