'stand together' | 

Christy Moore tells Dublin march ‘small minority’ is behind violence towards refugees

‘I know some people who are migrants and refugees here and they are terrified for their lives and they have been assaulted’

Christy Moore

Thousands have gathered in Dublin for the march

People arrived from all over the country

Wayne O’ConnorSunday World

Singer Christy Moore told thousands of people who took to the streets of Dublin today for an ‘Ireland For All’ march in solidarity with refugees that “we are stronger when we stand together”.

The demonstration, which drew large crowds from across the country, was organsied to combat a rise in anti-immigration protests and assaults against immigrants in recent weeks.

The march set off from Parnell Square around lunchtime towards the Custom House, where musicians including Moore performed in a show of solidarity with the movement.

The demonstration was organised by Le Cheile with support from a broad coalition of groups involving trade unions, several political parties, community groups, organisations and activists.

Speaking at the protest, Moore said: “My primary purpose is to express revulsion for the hatred and violence being fermented by a small minority who daily attack those unfortunate people who have come here seeking sanctuary from war, hunger, poverty and oppression,” he said.

Thousands have gathered in Dublin for the march

Moore called on the Government to tackle the housing crisis.

“All around the city we see cranes building more offices, hotels and flash apartments for rental only as our government welcomes vulture and hedge fund capitalists into Ireland,” he said.

“What we need is social housing,” he added.

Moore made reference to holocaust survivor pastor Martin Niemöller and paid thanks to “those who gave their lives fighting fascism in Spain, those who left Ireland with the Connolly column to join the 15th international brigade”.

Large crowds of people from across the country arrived in Dublin in support of today’s march.

Ada Mulhearn was one of 25 people who travelled on a bus from Kilkenny and Carlow for the event.

She said the group had come to “support refugees, people are targeting the wrong people”.

Ms Mulhearn said recent attacks on refugee camps and centres is “disgusting”.

“I know some people who are migrants and refugees here and they are terrified for their lives and they have been assaulted,” she said.

She added that the Government “needs to do more more… they are not supporting them enough”.

While the theme of today’s event was inclusivity, speakers spoke on pressures communities are facing as a result of the cost of living crisis and Government policies on housing and healthcare.

Rory Ahearne, assistant professor of social policy at Maynooth University, who spoke at the event, said the Government “needs to accept that it has caused the housing crisis”.

People arrived from all over the country

“Don’t blame the refugees, they are not causing the housing crisis,” he said, adding that “huge amounts” of misinformation is being spread which the Government has a responsibility to address.

“We are seeing very clearly within the far right the lie that asylum seekers, refugees and migrants are causing the housing crisis, when very clearly it is caused by the government's failure to build social and affordable housing for years,” he said.

Today’s event was backed by more than 100 groups including Le Cheile, United Against Racism, Forsa, National Women’s Council of Ireland, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Siptu, The Union of Students Ireland and Pavee Point.

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said there has been “a lot of ugliness and poison in the last couple of months” regarding refugees and a nationwide campaign is needed from government.

“The noises from Government about deportations and Varadkar’s comments about illegality, when you have people standing outside of centres saying ‘burn them out’ then a whole different level of reaction is needed,” he said.

“There is no information from Government, there has to be a Covid style response with information on the exact current state of affairs.

“In that absence the vacuum will be filled by others,” he added.

People Before Profit’s Bríd Smith said there has been a “rise in racism in Ireland that has been deliberately been stoked up by organisers of the far-right”.

She said the rise in anti-immigration sentiments has had a “poisonous effect” on communities which has stemmed from the cost of living crisis.

“We had those crises long before refugees came, long before the Ukrainian war,” she said, adding that the Government needs to address the cost of living crisis that is “crippling people”.

Extra Garda resources were dedicated to today’s demonstration to deal with any potential confrontations involving anti-immigration groups protesting against the Ireland For All event.

“Where necessary An Garda Síochána put in place appropriate and proportionate policing plans to monitor public gatherings and ensure public safety,” said a Garda spokesman.

“There will be rolling road closures in place today,” he added.

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