- 15 May 23
The large garda presence on the street during clashes over the weekend failed to prevent initial attacks
A man has been charged following continued attacks on a homeless refugee camp in Dublin city centre from anti-immigration rioters.
The attack has been taking place since Friday night, when an anti-migrant mob targeted a makeshift shelter housing refugees in a small number of tents near Sandwith Street.
Various items of furniture, tents and personal belongings were burned down, and chaotic clashes between the far-right mob and pro-migrant groups ensued, with both sides kept apart by Gardaí.
A number of asylum seekers and activists have been living in the so-called ‘Tent City’ in nearby Sandwith Street, close to the International Protection Office on Mount Street in Dublin city centre. The small number of tents were pitched due to the various difficulties in sourcing accomodation for asylum seekers and refugees entering the country in recent months.
A man was arrested at the clashes on Friday night, and is due to appear before Dublin District Court later this month.
The attack, one of the most intense anti-immigration clashes seen in Dublin, follows months of previous protests from far-right, racist groups across the city. Days of protesting also impacted the work charity and homeless groups such as Dublin-based homeless welfare organisation Streetlink Homeless Support.
Outreach services are cancelled tonight as our vehicle is currently be blocked by racist thugs on Sandwith Street. Car is presently struck by missles. @rodericogorman @DarraghOBrienTD pic.twitter.com/cAM9mB2AXu
— Streetlink Homeless Support (@StreetlinkBAC) May 12, 2023
Many public figures and politicians were quick to condemn the attack, such as Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Justice Minister Simon Harris.
What happened last night in #SandwithStreet is an outrage.
This is racism pure & simple.
Burning the tents of homeless people who have come to Ireland seeking international protection.
This is not who we are as a people. We are better than this. pic.twitter.com/oyUurZBglu
— Eoin Ó Broin (@EOBroin) May 13, 2023
People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy also tweeted to condemn the attack, saying that the destruction caused was the fault of the government.
“We warned the government again and again that by putting asylum seekers on the streets they were putting people in serious danger. They did it anyway as a concession to far-right. Did it satisfy them? Of course not.”
People Before Profit also called for people to join those opposing the far-right mob on Friday on social media.
Far-right agitator Philip Dwyer was believed to have led the initial protest, a self-titled "citizen journalist" with a history of kicking dogs who was recently charged with threatening staff at a crèche about a ‘rainbow poster’.
In a statement following the attack, the Department of Children and Integration stated that it "is working to secure further accommodation and hopes to deliver significant capacity in the coming weeks to alleviate the shortages being experienced presently".
While condemning the attack, the Department also stated that access to accomodation by those affected is "severely constrained". They stated that they are availing of the use of repurposed buildings and tented accommodation to address the accommodation shortfall, which is currently affecting thousands of refugees who have fled to Ireland seeking safety and accomodation.