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United Against Racism to hold rally to welcome refugees after East Wall protests

TD Richard Boyd Barrett announced the rally, saying there are “all sorts of poisonous myths, misinformation and downright lies” being spread around East Wall.

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

A rally to welcome refugees has been planned to combat the “anger” of protests in the East Wall area, TD Richard Boyd Barrett has announced.

The decision to use an old ESB building in East Wall as an emergency accommodation centre for refugees has sparked tensions in the community, with some local residents claiming they were not consulted on the move.

Dún Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd Barrett took to Facebook to announce the rally, calling on “all groups, organisations and individuals to join us for unity and solidarity against hate and division”.

In a post, he said the people of Ireland have every right to be “boiling with anger” over the housing crisis, the cost of living and to feel like they are “being ripped off and taken advantage of by the elites and the people at the top”.

He added that “none of this anger justifies the targeting of asylum seekers, refugees, families, children, women, and men escaping horrors and seeking refuge in this country.

“East Wall is a wonderfully diverse community. But what is happening in East Wall, Fermoy, Wicklow and Carlingford is that this justifiable anger being manipulated by individuals and organisations of the far right and directed at precisely the wrong target.

“There are all sorts of poisonous myths, misinformation and downright lies being spread by those who want to divide us,” he wrote.

Sign held up by protesters in East Wall, Dublin

The United Against Racism gathering is set for O’Connell Street in Dublin on Thursday.

The People Before Profit/Solidarity TD called on people to “join us to stand in unity and solidarity with all those in need and reject racism and the far-right manipulation of the crises that ordinary people are facing”.

Earlier this week, protesters in East Wall blocked the Port Tunnel for the third time in the capital.

Protesters first blocked the road last Monday, saying it was “just a small taste of what’s to come” and that their disruption will continue every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until the accommodation is shut down.

Tensions have continued to rise in the local community since the protests began, with many fearing they have been co-opted by right-wing nationalists.

Local TD Gary Gannon recently told Newstalk Breakfast that the protest “does not represent” the view of all East Wall residents.

"What started out last week as quite a large cohort of people in the North Inner City and East Wall discussing how they weren’t informed, how they didn’t feel consulted, has very quickly descended into what I will only describe now as a far-right rally,” he said.

The Social Democrats TD said he believed a number of right-wing activists had arrived to “hijack” the protest.

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