Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu has said she was subjected to racist abuse outside her home in the Mansion House yesterday.
She said the incident occurred when a group of far-right protesters gathered outside her home and challenged her for wearing a face mask.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, Ms Chu said this incident is just one of the reasons why she looks out the window every day to check if it is safe to leave her home with her three-year-old daughter.
“If I am taking Alex to creche I do double check. Mainly because I worry. I feel a little embarrassed saying that, because it shouldn’t be like that.”
She said her little girl has previously been called a “mongrel”, but said she was “too young to understand”.
“Now that she’s a little older, I’m hoping there won’t be any more issues directed at her, but there have been there been some online comments…[that] she should be deported back to China and aborted there”.
If you’re going to come at me, make sure that you have a reason, apart from the colour of my skin – Hazel Chu
Ms Chu said she speaks out about the racism she receives to try and change things for future generations.
“This is why it’s really important that people actually do call it out and try to address these issues now because I don’t want my three-year-old to grow up to realise we’re back in the exact same place as we were 20 years ago.”
She said she received information that there was a notice circulating among various far-right groups on Facebook and other groups to gather at the Mansion House at 11am yesterday.
She said: “I went outside to talk to the gardaí and when I was coming back into the house, they started loudly, asking particular things and stating particular things.
“One of them held out her hand and I said, ‘I can’t shake it as we’re under Covid guidelines, that we should adhere to guidelines’. Her first reaction was, ‘these are just guidelines are not law’, and I said ‘well we’re trying to keep everyone safe’.”
Ms Chu said other people started talking about how the mask that I was wearing was to protect just me and not them, and that people were suffering wearing masks.
The Lord Mayor said one person then shouted at her “when you turn into a shapeshifting dragon, we will catch it on camera.”
She said she recognised some of those gathered outside her home yesterday.
“Some of them I had seen before, who have provided very direct, more racist abuse at me, on other occasions.
“You do have to have a reason why you’re there protesting. It can’t be just because that they don’t like the look of me because I can’t change that.”
She said she supports peoples’ right to protest, but that given that her home is also her place of work, she fears for her daughter’s safety.
“The home versus office thing is a hard one for me, because my child lives with me. As a mother, I like all mothers, fear what will happen for their children. What irks me is, if you’re going to come at me, make sure that you have a reason, apart from the colour of my skin.
“When you take possession of the public place yourself, anyone, you will get harassment or abuse that comes with the territory.”
Ms Chu said by making her experiences known to the public she hopes she can prevent others having to go through the same things.
“Since I took that role and I voice my opinions on racism on the far right, I’ve been told I play the victim card I’ve been told I give them oxygen. But the thing is, for me, it’s to make sure that we combat these issues, so that it doesn’t become more of an issue.
“These things don’t just die down, they build up to the point where, if you don’t challenge groups like this, if you don’t call it out, what will inevitably happen is this boiling point or something happens, and we all say, ‘why didn’t we do something about it’.”