Meeting in Public


Press Release

Launch of Policing Authority-funded research project

 The Policing Authority welcomes the launch of a research project commissioned by the Authority to explore the experience and perceptions of policing within diverse and minority communities in Ireland. The research will explore the experience of policing across two communities in Ireland — the Brazilian community and those of African descent. It will apply a mixed-methodology approach, and will include an online survey, focus groups and individual interviews. The research team has launched a webpage for the project, and will over the coming weeks be recruiting participants from African and Brazilian communities to share their experiences.

The Authority also welcomes Dr Lucy Michael to the research team. A vacancy arose on the team following the untimely death of Dr Vicky Conway, who was one of the original awardees of the funding, and the Authority is pleased that Dr Michael will now fulfil this role. Dr Michael will join two NGO partners, Shane O’Curry, Director of the Irish Network Against Racism (INAR) and Rodrigo Souza Silva, Community Organizer, Brazilian Left Front (BLF) on the research team.

Policing Authority Chairperson, Bob Collins commented:

“The Policing Authority welcomes the launch of this important piece of research, and looks forward to gaining a better understanding of the way members of diverse and minority communities in Ireland are currently experiencing and perceiving policing. The Authority also welcomes the addition of experienced researcher, Dr Lucy Michael, to the research team. I would like to pay tribute to the key role played by the late Dr Vicky Conway in initiating this work, and indeed to her contribution to this field more broadly. It is hoped that this research will form a small part of Vicky’s legacy”.

It is envisaged that the research will provide the Authority and the Garda Síochána with detailed insight into:

  • The nature and quality of the experience of policing by certain communities in Ireland;
  • The degree to which the experience is in line with the legislation and relevant Garda Síochána policies and strategies;
  • The impact of the experiences on confidence to report crime, to provide information and to encourage another member of the community to report a crime or seek assistance from the Garda Síochána; and
  • The impact of the experience on perceptions of the Garda Síochána.

It is expected that the research will be published in late 2023.


Notes to Editors

Researcher Biographies

Dr Lucy Michael

Dr Lucy Michael is a sociologist in practice, and consultant on equality and integration issues. Her work particularly addresses racist discrimination and violence, experiences of victims, and the roles of statutory institutions and civil society in combating hate crime and exclusion. She is author (with Bryan Fanning) of Immigrants as Outsiders in the Two Irelands (MUP, 2019), and (with Samantha Schulz) of Unsettling Whiteness (Brill, 2019).

She is also a Commission Member on the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. Dr Michael has conducted research with a wide range of public and private sector bodies including the International Organisation for Migration, UK Home Office and European Network Against Racism. She is co-author with INAR of the racist incident reporting system used to map racism in Ireland. She holds a Bachelor of Civil Law degree from University College Dublin, and MA in Criminology and Research Methods and PhD from Keele University. She previously held lecturing posts at Ulster University and University of Hull, and is a former President of the Sociological Association of Ireland.

Shane O’Curry

Shane O’Curry is Director of INAR, the Irish Network Against Racism, where since 2013 he has helped build a civil society network representing over 170 anti-racist community organisations. In 2019 his key recommendations on minorities’ experiences of policing were adopted by the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Observations on Ireland. At INAR he developed and launched, Ireland’s first state-wide online hate incident reporting system. He is current Chair of the Garda National Diversity Forum and a former member of the National Anti-Racism Committee.

Rodrigo Souza Silva

Rodrigo Souza Silva is currently an Undergraduate Student in Anthropology and Sociology at Maynooth University. He is an advocate of the rights of the migrants and the Brazilian community in Ireland, having been part of the grassroots social justice collective Brazilian Left Front (BLF) since 2017. During the Covid 19 pandemic he was involved in a working group to address the effects on migrants of the lockdown. As a founding member of Community Ireland Tenants Union (CATU) he is currently working to establish a Latin American caucus within the organisation.