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Far-right claims asylum seekers removed from Mullingar barracks are rubbished

“Given current pressures on the international protection accommodation, the Department does not intend to end its use of the facility.”

Anti-immigration protestors block a bus carrying asylum seekers in Mullingar

Protestors demonstrating outside Columb Barracks in Mullingar

protestor's gesture

Eamon DillonSunday World

CLAIMS far-right activists forced a government U-turn on using a former military barracks to house asylum seekers has been rubbished.

The Department of Integration confirmed today that 53 people are being housed at the temporary accommodation at Columb Barracks in Mullingar.

It was added that despite the disturbances there are no plans to stop the use of the property by the Department who are responsible for housing refugees and asylum seekers.

“Given current pressures on the international protection accommodation, the Department does not intend to end its use of the facility.”

During attempts to block access to the site last Friday night there was an assault on a garda while a man was later arrested at the scene.

Green party councillor Hazel Smith told Midlands 103 radio on Monday that the people involved in the incident did not represent the town.

Protestors demonstrating outside Columb Barracks in Mullingar

“I don't think it represents the goodness that is there within Mullingar and the kind people that are there who are very happy to do what they can to help.

This is why I don't think that the people who were there, really acting in a very ungracious and unkind way to these people in any way represent Mullingar.

“It was very saddening to see that.”

Irish-flag waving protestors some of them hooded to hide their faces blocked a bus carrying international protection applicants.

One clip shows an obscene gesture being made through at the gates of Columb Barracks in full view of the new arrivals as gardaí stand in front of the protestors.

Another in which officers are seen moving one protestor, it is falsely claimed they are being attacked by the ‘police’.

At one point on Friday night members of the protest group are seen on video reciting the rosary.

Videos recorded at the scene have since been used to stir up hate by far-right activists in both the UK and Ireland.

protestor's gesture

Interim Minister for Justice Simon Harris has said the attempts to physically block international protection applicants from entering the accommodation on Friday was “an effort to intimidate”.

Protests have been ongoing by various groups opposed to the plan since it was announced in February by the Department of Integration.

The plan is for 120 asylum seekers were to be accommodated in 15 tents at the barracks which closed in Mullingar in 2012.

Since its official closure as an Irish Defence Forces base in 2012, Columb Barracks has been a home for groups that assist those with mental health issues and vulnerable youth among many others.

The plan, aided by the Department of Defence, is for both Ukrainian and other international refugees to be housed at the facility and will be used for just 12 months.

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