Members of the Asian community in Ireland say they are suffering increased levels of racism because of the outbreak of the coronavirus.
One woman was reportedly attacked by a group of girls who punched and spat at her while shouting “you brought the virus”.
Artist Jin Yong has lived in Ireland for nearly 20 years and he says he has seen a noticeable difference in the way Asian people have been treated in recent months.
Yong told the Irish Independent: “I’ve been living here for 18 years and have never seen such high levels of intolerance and abuse towards the Chinese community.
“A young woman was attacked in Dublin a few weeks ago by a group of other girls who were shouting, ‘You brought the virus here’ while spitting and punching her.
“One of my friends also told me a group of random people started shouting ‘virus, virus’ at her while she was walking in the city centre.
“Many of my Asian friends are living in fear because of the daily reports of abuse, but it’s not just happening in Ireland. All over the world Asian communities are being harassed.
“There’s an image that’s being constantly shared of two Asian people eating a bat. The post implies that Chinese are responsible for the outbreak of coronavirus because they always eat bats.
“But in reality, these two people are Indonesian who were taking part in a travel programme. I grew up in China and never even heard that there were people who eat bats so it’s definitely not a common cuisine.
“I’ve been told on Facebook my family who live in China deserve to die, but I know that’s the price to pay when you speak out publicly.”
The Independent also spoke to a man from South Korea who is living in Ireland. He didn’t want to be named but said: “About two weeks ago I was sitting on the Dart on my way home from work when I noticed that I was the only person sitting by myself in a packed carriage. There were loads of other passengers standing but for some reason they wouldn’t sit next to me. Maybe it was a coincidence, but I definitely feel a change in the way people look at me.
“Even in work, people make jokes whenever I cough or sneeze about me having the coronavirus even though my home country is thousands of miles away from Wuhan. I know they’re made in jest, but it gets really annoying when I receive a comment like this every day.”
Cindy Liu, who works as a lecturer at the Technological University Dublin, said: “Most Irish people I know have been so sympathetic towards this terrible virus. But it really breaks my heart to hear that a small number of people are discriminating against our community.”