- 24 Nov 22
Hundreds of protestors (many bussed in from other parts of Ireland, seemingly masquerading as locals) gathered in East Wall over the asylum seekers receiving emergency accommodation in Dublin.
In the wake of the protests in Dublin's East Wall, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Fine Gael TD John Paul Phelan are expressing differing points of view.
There have been demonstrations of hundreds of people in the inner-city Dublin area protesting the emergency arrival of asylum seekers, demanding "consultation". Up to 370 single male international protection seekers can be accommodated in the East Wall's old ESB building.
Varadkar condemned the protestors, saying that while communities should be "consulted" on these matters, they cannot simply "veto" proposals.
"We need to be very careful not to make the mistake of confusing consultation with communities, which is important, with the idea that any community can have a veto on the kind of people who get to live in their area. That's not right," he stated.
Equality Minister Roderic O'Gorman raised concerns that far-right groups have been involved in these protests, saying that "nefarious" groups were "misusing concerns." He said his department will provide more information to the community in the coming days.
Minister O'Gorman said that the Department of Children is involved in “extensive engagement” with the community in East Wall and will be carrying out leaflet drops in the area from today.
Many Twitter users agree with O'Gorman, calling the protestors "racists" and claiming they are not actually East Wall community members.
Racists from other parts of Dublin/Ireland bussed in to spread their racism. They’re not welcome in East Wall. Refugees are. https://t.co/dczMpRrt5J
— Tomás Heneghan 🇮🇪🇪🇺 (@TomasJHeneghan) November 21, 2022
On the other side, Phelan has defended the protestors rights to raise concerns about the impact on their community. He lambasted "lefties hectoring people" that they can't protest. Meanwhile, he claimed to favour a "flexible asylum process" which would allow for successful applicants to achieve citizenship.
Elsewhere, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald told Micheál Martin in the Dáil that asylum seekers and the communities which are being asked to house them are being treated with “disrespect”.
“There has not been planning. There have not been additional resources for communities that host vulnerable people seeking international protection.
“East Wall is merely the latest example of this. East Wall, by the way, is a diverse and integrated community and yet now total unnecessary division and anxiety has been driven by a lack of dialogue and a lack of basic planning.”
Dublin Central TD Gary Gannon said that the issue showed that anger and fear about the housing and cost-of-living crises are being “misplaced and sent in the wrong direction”.
“This is not something that is reflective of the north inner-city community as a whole. This has been whipped up. Fringe elements of the far right are making people have a sense of fear of the unknown. I think that is what manifested itself last night and on Saturday.
“People have a right to seek international protection in this country. They are here seeking sanctuary and refuge and we have an obligation to meet that.”
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