'upsetting' | 

Protest against asylum seekers in Ballymun ‘embarrassing’, says Lord Mayor of Dublin

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Green Party councillor Caroline Conroy also said many of the protesters are not local

Amy BlaneyIndependent.ie

A meeting was due to take place today between community leaders in Ballymun following a protest outside accommodation for asylum seekers on Sunday.

The crowd gathered outside the centre on the Ballymun Road at 5.15pm, said gardaí in a statement. “The group were kept under observation and dispersed peacefully at 6.45pm,” they added.

“A traffic management plan was briefly put in place to ensure the safety of those present and minimal disruption to other members of the public.”

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Green Party councillor Caroline Conroy, described the protest as “really embarrassing” and said it does not reflect the wider community of Ballymun.

“It's really embarrassing and upsetting. It's not what we are about in Ballymun,” she told RTÉs Today with Claire Byrne.

A meeting was due to take place today between community leaders, including local councillors, community groups and schools.

“We are all coming together and going to look at what is the best response,” the Lord Mayor said.

Cllr Conroy said the Minister for Integration, Roderic O’Gorman, would not be attending this initial meeting.

“We are going to talk to people who have been through this already and that is what the main course of the meeting is about, what the best response is to this,” she said.

According to cllr Conroy, many of the protesters are not local, and they have been distributing leaflets around the area.

“All the groups that have contacted me are really upset and distraught about the scenes that have taken place over the weekend,” she said.

“The majority of people that have contacted me are all from community groups, schools. They are all very upset because this does not represent what we do in Ballymun.

“It’s certainly a minority out there protesting against vulnerable people who have nowhere to go.

“We have always welcomed people when they come to Ballymun. We are made up of people from all over the place, that’s how we originated, and it’s always been the case of helping people who are in need.

“What’s really shocking and upsetting is so much work has gone into Ballymun and showing what we do in a positive light.

“Then this one weekend seems to destroy all of that hard work,” she added.

PHILLY

Former Dublin footballer and Ballymun native Philip McMahon said the anti-refugee protest in the area was “disappointing”.

“Disappointing to see some of the scenes in Ballymun over the last two days. From a community that is judged constantly, to now judging asylum seekers,” he said.

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.


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