FERMANAGH District Council’s Debbie Coyle has told the Herald she has come across a lot of instances where non-nationals who have settled here have been subject to racism, either out in the community or at work.
London-born and now living in Enniskillen, she was among those who attended an event in St Macartin’s Cathedral Hall last week which invited people to come along and hear the experiences of those who have settled here.
The event was hosted by the Irish Churches Pace Project.
“I found it very enjoyable, looking at other traditions from around the world and meeting some of those people who are now settled in Enniskillen.
“As well as sharing some delicious food, they shared some of their experiences of what it is like to come to Fermanagh to live.
“Like myself, they have had some very happy times, met wonderful people and in general feel accepted into the community.”
However, she said she had come across those who had a different experience.
“You could have 100 lovely people and one who is racist and the impact of that one person can have a terrible impact on them.
“It’s something I have come across quite a lot recently when I am out speaking to people, and people know they can speak to me.”
Asked what racist abuse takes, she said it happens when people are going home and in the workplace.
“It’s very subtle, but the people on the receiving end they’re not silly. They know when they’re being laughed at or ignored or just being excluded. It’s really not very nice.”
It’s for that reason that Councillor Coyle is encouraging community groups and organisations to host a ‘Meet Your Neighbour’ event along the lines of the one in the Cathedral Hall.
She commended the event organisers, Embrace NI and the funders, Irish Churches Peace Project.
“Many of our young people leave these shores to live abroad, they become foreigners in the country they go to, and I would like to think that they would be treated as equals and with respect.
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