The Government has launched a national action plan to tackle racism in response to evidence of what the plan describes as "the persistence of racial discrimination across many spheres of life".

The plan follows the establishment of an Anti Racism Committee by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth to look at the issue in 2020.

The committee, which includes people from diverse backgrounds, some of whom have experienced racism, worked during the Covid-19 pandemic and submitted an interim report to Minister Roderic O'Gorman.

It stated that ongoing and well-documented evidence showed that racism was embedded at every level of society and experienced by a variety of groups.

Current provisions and policy initiatives are not enough, according to the independent committee that compiled the report, and considerable gaps remain.

That was published in April 2021, after which a public consultation took place.

The plan, which was launched this evening, notes that integration and equality monitoring consistently shows that people from minority groups have higher probabilities of poorer outcomes and suggests priority actions and recommendations to tackle the issue.

It is rooted in a commitment to human rights, democracy and the rule of law, recognising the State's obligation to respect and protect human rights.

The report points out that there are several different laws in Ireland that protect people from racism, however, it acknowledges the need for action in many areas.

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The priority actions, which are subheaded into five objectives, include supporting people who experience racism by protecting them from racist incidents and crimes; addressing ethnic inequalities in education and employment; ensuring minority participation in communities, politics and the media; using data to measuring the impacts of racism and combating racism through policies, programmes and legislation.

Working with a coordination committee, the department will outline the progress of the plan twice a year from its commencement.

Speaking at the event to launch the national action plan, the Taoiseach said he believes that racial profiling by gardaí can happen unintentionally.

Leo Varadkar said that while he did not have substantial evidence to prove it was a problem within the force, he believes that assumptions can sometimes be made because of people's appearance.

Referring to anecdotal evidence that he has heard, he said that sometimes a document or passport is checked "when you might not do so if the person looks more traditionally Irish".

Mr Varadkar told reporters that he believes a lot of racism is not malicious, adding that "it's just that people aren't clued in and don't understand these things".

"If you go to the US or talk to police departments there, they're much more clued in to the fact that they can't do that and they should be racially aware", he said.

Mr Varadkar said that racial profiling was something that he believed could be improved on in Ireland.

Additional reporting Tommy Meskill