'Not right' | 

Leo Varadkar says communities can’t have ‘veto on who lives in their area’

The Tánaiste was speaking after two protests took place this week in East Wall, Dublin over asylum seekers being housed in an old ESB building

Fine Gael leader and Tanaiste Leo Varadkar© PA

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The idea that communities can have a “veto” on who gets to live in their area is “not right”, Leo Varadkar has said.

The Tánaiste said that it’s important that people are informed about emergency accommodation for refugees – but stressed that this doesn’t mean they can decide who gets to live there.

He was speaking after two protests took place this week in East Wall, Dublin over asylum seekers being housed in an old ESB building.

A third protest on Wednesday was called off after Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman said they would meet with East Wall residents to listen to their concerns.

“I think it is important that we consult our communities,” Mr Varadkar said.

“That is the right thing to do and we’ll have to work out how we can do that better in future. But I don’t think any community can have a veto on who gets to live in their area.

“It has never been the case that when a new housing estate was built near me that I was consulted on who got to live there, the same thing would apply to a new apartment block.

“I think we need to be very careful not to make the mistake of confusing consultation and information 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.”

Mr Varadkar made the comments in Dún Laoghaire on Wednesday at the announcement of a major new offshore wind partnership between Ocean Winds and Bord na Mona.

He also said that the Irish Government will do “everything possible” to avoid Ukrainian refugees becoming homeless but can’t promise that everyone will be homed.

“We’ll do everything we can to provide them with shelter and that will range from accommodation in people’s homes to retrofitting old warehouses, office blocks, using hotels, using modular housing and rapid build.

“I would love to be able to say that we can provide own-door self-catering accommodation to everyone who arrives in Ireland from any part of the world.

“I can’t promise that and I don’t think any government in the world is able to do that. But what I can say is that we’ll do everything possible to make sure that everyone is offered shelter and nobody is left without shelter, and I think we can achieve that.”

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