‘We have seen protests outside asylum centres in East Wall, Tallaght, Clondalkin, Killarney, Fermoy, Ballymun and elsewhere. There are going to be more’
It has been reported how there were cries of ‘house the Irish, not the world’ heard among some of those who objected to the provision of accommodation for refugees in the north Dublin suburb.
Now, Dublin People Before Profit TD, Paul Murphy has said that when people say they are protesting about “unvetted men of military age” what they are really expressing is “fear of black, brown and foreign men”.
“When they say they are worried about the health of their children after refugees were sleeping in their school, they are suggesting that people from other countries are in some way unclean and full of illness,” he added.
“When they say that they need consultation about refugees coming in, they are saying that communities should have a veto about non-Irish people coming into their area.”
In the opinion piece for the ‘Eco-Socialist quarterly’, Rupture.ie, the Dublin deputy said he had written the article to “outline the dangers as I see them and what I think anti-racists and anti-fascists could do to respond”.
“We have seen protests outside asylum centres in East Wall, Tallaght, Clondalkin, Killarney, Fermoy, Ballymun and elsewhere. There are going to be more,” he wrote.
The protests in Ballymun have been met with widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum.
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has said he was “deeply disturbed” by the protest, with local Fianna Fáil councillor Briege MacOscar describing them as “upsetting.”
The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Green Party councillor Caroline Conroy, said the “really embarrassing” protest “does not reflect the wider community of Ballymun”.
Former Dublin footballer and Ballymun native Philip McMahon said the anti-refugee protest in the area was “disappointing”.
Last week, another protest occurred outside a school in Drimnagh, Co Dublin, that was accommodating asylum seekers during the Christmas break.
In December, a number of protests took place in East Wall against asylum seekers being accommodated in a local hotel.
“The fact that over 200 people protested outside an empty school in Drimnagh on 4 January illustrates the scale of the problem,” Deputy Murphy stated.
“A few days later, hundreds protested in Ballymun outside a centre holding families including children seeking asylum here.
“Unless we on the left get organised now, we are going to see a further qualitative step forward for the organised far-right and the embeddedness of racist ideas."
However, Deputy Murphy said the protests are not just composed of people from the far-right.
“There are ordinary people participating in the protests and an even larger section of people in working class communities who are sympathetic to the protests.
"The idea that ‘we have to put our own first’ and that ‘there are too many coming’ is widespread. Why?”
“Fundamentally, there are two reasons,” he suggested.
“One is that there are real issues of resources. It isn’t an accident that many of these protests are taking place in communities suffering from deprivation, and where the housing crisis is most acute.
"The justifiable anger that should be pointed at the corporate landlords, the big developers and the government which serves their interests is being twisted and directed against asylum seekers.
“This is able to be twisted partly because people are not feeling confident about their ability to win significant changes from the government on housing or other issues.
"It is now almost a decade since the height of the movement on water charges that imbued working class communities with a sense of their power, which has now been significantly eroded.
"If you don’t feel that you can push the government to build more houses, then the idea that more refugees will make it harder to get housing resonates more.”
Mr Murphy warned that if anyone was hoping that this anti-refugee movement could just be ignored and it will go away, “they have hopefully woken up by now”.
“it hasn’t gone away,” he said. “ It is getting bigger and more dangerous.