A rally opposing racism, homophobia, sexism transphobia took place in Cork city centre yesterday.

Far-right trying to ‘whip up’ racism

If Ireland deported every refugee, we'd still have a housing crisis.

That’s according to ROSA Cork organiser Martina Stafford who led a rally in Cork city yesterday against racism, homophobia, sexism and transphobia.

The rally took place yesterday, International Women’s Day, from 6pm on the Grand Parade where the public heard from a number of speakers.

Speaking to the Cork Independent ahead of the rally, Ms Stafford said she believes the recent scapegoating of refugees for violence against women and other societal issues like the housing crisis by far-right groups is nothing more than “racist lies”.

She said: “I think the far right are really pushing this idea, and it's essentially just a racist lie and they're using racist tropes to instil fear in people, and it's directed at black and brown men. They're trying to whip up racism.

“It's the same arguments that are made about trans people - that they're a threat to women, they're a threat to children.”

Ms Stafford’s comments come following new figures released by the Cork Sexual Violence Centre which show that 87% of victims who contact them know their perpetrator.

In a separate report by charity Women’s Aid, figures show that 93% of young women surveyed had been threatened with the release of intimate images by their partners during an argument.

“Sexism and misogyny are very much rooted in the system that we live in,” she said.

"So what you see online is only a reflection of what already exists. It’s a new form of the same old ideas. There’s huge pressure on girls and boys with regards to beauty standards and gender norms, and that is something that plays out in schools, and it’s linked to how LGBTQ+ people are discriminated against because these are very rigid views of gender.

“Something that could be done in schools is that there be properly funded LGBTQ+ inclusive, consent-based, objective sex education. We don’t have that in schools. How do you expect to combat it?”

According to ILGA-Europe (LGBTQ+ advocacy group), last year was reportedly the most violent year for LGBTQ+ people in Europe in a decade, something Ms Stafford said is reflected in the recent homophobic and transphobic attacks in Cork.

“You have these so-called debates on the radio, you have the banning of trans women in the IRFU; it highlights the trends that you’d see and of course we’re going to see that play out at every level including harassments on the street and verbal and physical assault,” she concluded.