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Rural Ireland must get priority over immigrants, Cork TD says

Cork TD Michael Collins

An Independent TD insists the government should prioritise Irish people in need, over immigrants.

The comments come as controversy continues over proposals for a direct provision centre at a former hotel in Oughterard in Co Galway.

A round the clock protest has been taking place outside the planned location by those opposed to the facility.

Independent TD for Cork South West, Michael Collins says the government needs to address a host of issues affecting rural Ireland:

"The State must really look at how many people they can re-house," he said.

"We have this situation too where we need to treat our own people with the same privileges as we treat others."

Protestors have pledged to maintain a 24-hour presence outside the hotel earmarked for the direct provision centre until they receive confirmation that it will not be used to house asylum seekers.

The community action began after a public meeting attended by 800 people last week, where Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish differentiated between what he described as “genuine” refugees from Syria, and “economic migrants” from Africa who came to “sponge”off the taxpayer.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has called on Mr Grealish to withdraw and clarify his comments.