By Joleen Murphy
The number of racist incidents in Ireland increased by almost a third last year.
A record 700 were reported on the Irish Network Against Racism's iReport system, compared to 530 in 2019.
The highest ever number of racist assaults and hate speech incidents were also recorded, at 51 and 594 respectively, while there were 159 criminal incidents.
Author of the report, Dr. Lucy Michael, says the rise in cases of racism is worrying.
"We received 700 reports of racism in Ireland.
"That's higher than we have ever received before, in fact considerably higher than in 2019 when we received 530 reports
"More than 300 of those were around hate speech, including the highest number ever from extremest groups.
"But also a very high number of racist assaults despite the lockdown which might have made us expect something lower."
These reports have been described as reaching record highs.
Racist incidents were reported to the Irish Network Against Racism's iReport service.
That's a 25 percent increase on 2019 record numbers of hate speech incidents and racist assaults.
The reports author Dr Lucy Michael says it's a worrying development.
"Reports overall were up including criminal offences, hate speech and graffiti
"We saw a high rate of physical injury continuing too along with psychological impact and social isolation that results in that doubling for victims of racist crime and violence in 2020."