A CITY centre rally is set to take place on Thursday afternoon to show that refugees are welcome in Cork, a campaigner has said.
The rally, which is being organised by the group International Community Dynamics, is planned for 4pm on the Grand Parade.
Human rights activist Roos Demol, who works with refugees and asylum seekers, said it was important to resist the rise of the far right in Ireland, and to demonstrate that the vast majority of Irish people are welcoming to those who come here in need of international protection.
“The protests against asylum seekers have really preyed on the housing crisis and the difficulties that people are facing, to blame them on refugees and refugees, and we want the Cork people to show that we welcome refugees,” Ms Demol said.
She said there will be guest speakers at the rally, as well as musicians and singers, and it was hoped that people would turn out with placards supporting those seeking refuge in Ireland.
“We have had a lot of positive response, and we are hoping that people will turn out on Thursday afternoon,” Ms Demol said.
“We are just a group of people who feel we need to stand up and show that refugees and asylum seekers are welcome in Cork.”
The planned city centre rally comes after a number of anti-refugee protests around the country.
Since December, there have been small but recurring protests outside a direct provision centre in Fermoy, a former convent building, which houses 63 international protection applicants, including 24 children.
At a rally earlier this month, around 50 anti-asylum protesters blocked the bridge in Fermoy for approximately 10 minutes.
Last Thursday, following a small anti-immigration protest which was taking place in the Fermoy area, gardaí began an investigation into the assault of a garda.
A video of the alleged incident involving a plainclothes garda member was being circulated on social media.
A garda statement said that the incident occurred on Oliver Plunket Hill, Fermoy, at approximately 6pm that evening.
“Medical treatment was not required by the Garda,” the spokesperson added.
Before Christmas, a rally of over 300 local Fermoy people turned out to show that refugees are welcome in the town, and earlier this month a group of 24 local pro-asylum activists formed a group called “Fermoy for All”.