clear warning | 

Government let ‘racist opportunists’ take over East Wall protests, Workers’ Party claims

Garret Greene, a spokesperson for the Workers’ Party, claims the ‘out of touch government’ allowed ‘the far right’ to take over the situation in East Wall

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

East Wall residents have been taken advantage of by “racist opportunists” who manipulated the local community, a spokesperson for the Workers’ Party has claimed.

Garret Greene said the “out of touch government” allowed “the far right” to take over the situation.

Crowds have been gathering outside an old ESB building in Dublin to push back against it being used as accommodation for asylum seekers.

Traffic was brought to a standstill on the East Wall Road on two separate days this week, while the Port Tunnel was also blocked, causing huge delays during rush hour.

There have been warnings that it is “just a small taste of what’s to come” as protests continue.

“The Minister’s failure to even inform local residents of his plans allows racist opportunists to create a false conflict between the interests of local residents and migrants,” said Mr Greene, a Dublin representative of the Workers’ Party.

Sign held up by protestors in East Wall

He said a lack of consultation with the community before the ESB building was turned into emergency accommodation “is not an acceptable way to treat local residents’ concerns.

"Not content with driving down living standards through the cost of living and housing crises, this out of touch government is now determined to hand opportunities to the far right to mobilise in working class areas, which threatens the safety of locals and asylum seekers alike.

"While the Workers’ Party certainly does not brand all those in the local community in East Wall who have raised concerns as racist, we issue a clear warning about the political agendas of some of those involved.”

Mr Greene said that any person using “extreme right arguments” during the protests while claiming to be a member of the Workers’ Party “is a matter of disgust to us.”

"This person is not following in the tradition of Tone, Connolly, and Mellows as is claimed but rather slobbering at the same trough of extreme right wing Catholic thought which fuelled the Blueshirts," he said.

The group of local residents announced this week that they will continue their protest every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until the accommodation centre is shut down.

It said that the government’s lack of cooperation “forced” them to take drastic action and directed any complaints about the disruption to the “culprits”, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.

Meanwhile, Minister O’Gorman has said the former ESB office block in Dublin will not be closed as emergency accommodation for asylum seekers, with more refugees expected to be moved to the building in the coming weeks.

Speaking on Newstalk this week, Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon, who represented the East Wall area, said he has been “inundated” with calls from residents who say the protests are not the opinion of everyone in the area.

"What started last week as part of a larger cohort of people from the north inner city and East Wall discussing how they weren’t informed or didn’t feel consulted has very quickly descended into what I will only describe now as a far-right rally,” he said.

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