'After three attacks, I'm leaving unsafe Ireland and going back to Brazil', says Sandra (34)
A Brazilian professional who was attacked three times in a year on the streets of Dublin has now decided to leave Ireland because she feels unsafe.
Sandra Castrese (34) from San Paulo, Brazil is a digital media professional who was headhunted to come to Ireland due to a skills shortage.
Ms Castrese flew into Ireland ready to receive the famed "cead mile failte" and gain valuable experience in her professional field, while saving some money at the same time.
However, now fed up with abuse on the streets and the high cost of living, the 34-year-old has decided to leave after less than a year here.
Ms Castrese was the victim of three separate and random attacks on public transport and on O'Connell street. In one incident, she was slapped and verbally abused.
"I am afraid to get the bus and go on public transport by myself," Sandra said.
"Sometimes, I feel unsafe. People say, oh she's from Brazil, it is violent there, but in Brazil there is violence because people will rob you.
"Here, I don't feel like I'll be robbed. But I feel afraid."
"There are a lot of stories about people being treated badly and assaults.
"I know 99pc of Irish people are very nice and very friendly. But when the last one [incident] happened, I thought I don't want to stay here any more."
Last month, an article in one of the biggest media outlets in Brazil, UOL, ran a feature on attacks on the streets in Dublin.
Three Brazilian students told the newspaper how they had been the victims of hate crimes. One had nearly lost an eye.
"My parents are concerned. They see that I am not happy here," Sandra said.
"When I got here I suffered some verbal attacks as well. It's just stupid people, I know the Irish people aren't like that."
"The only reason I would stay here is for my job. Ireland is very good for professionals like me.
"Ireland is great to bring over skilled people, but the problem is that skilled people have to pay so much money to stay here."
After a month in unsuitable, temporary accommodation, Sandra found a tiny studio apartment in Drumcondra for €680 per month.
It was so tiny that there was no room for a washing machine, she said.
For now, Ms Castrese will move home to spend time with her family before she re-evaluates her career plans.
She hasn't ruled out a move back to Europe. In Berlin, for example, rents can be up to 46pc lower than in Ireland, Ms Castrese said.
"Dublin is not prepared for the influx of people coming in. You can't find a place to live. The transport, if you compare it to other European cities, it's different," Sandra said. "I would have to pay half my wages for a place near the city centre.
"It's not like I was looking for a fancy place. Dublin became unaffordable for me.
"I started to look for car insurance as well, but I would have to pay €3,000 for car insurance because I have to have a learner's permit here, even though I'd been driving for 10 years in Brazil," she said.
"I'm disappointed. I wasn't expected to leave. It's a good place. People are very friendly. The country is beautiful, and I would say to people that you might have a different experience to the one I had.
"But the cost of living is high. I would recommend it, but I would say to people, maybe look for a cheaper city," she added.