Fringe elements of the far right are 'whipping up hysteria' in East Wall

Fringe elements of the far right are “whipping up hysteria” in East Wall in Dublin which has seen two protests in recent days over the housing of asylum seekers in the area, according to Dublin Central TD for the Social Democrats Gary Gannon
Fringe elements of the far right are 'whipping up hysteria' in East Wall

Olivia Kelleher

Fringe elements of the far right are “whipping up hysteria” in East Wall in Dublin which has seen two protests in recent days over the housing of asylum seekers in the area, according to Dublin Central TD for the Social Democrats Gary Gannon.

Mr Gannon told Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1 that anger and fear about the housing and cost of living crisis is being “misplaced and sent in the wrong direction".

“This is not something that is reflective of the north inner-city community as whole. This has been whipped up.

"Fringe elements of the far right are making people have a sense of fear of the unknown. I think that is what manifested itself last night and on Saturday.

"I don’t want to see those scenes again. People have a right to seek international protection in this country. They are here seeking sanctuary and refuge, and we have an obligation to meet that.”

He strongly condemned protestors whom he stated used the phrase “out, out, out” when protesting outside the old ESB building in his constituency.

Mr Gannon said that the people of East Wall should have been informed about the change of use of the building.

“In the space of that gap not being filled by the State that space was filled by more nefarious movements who were able to take advantage of that and whip up a sense that the Government were once again mistreating the people of the inner city.

"There is a real sense that the people of the inner city have for generations been left behind. But if the State doesn’t inform people what is happening in their constituencies these (far right) groups will step in.”

Meanwhile, CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Brian Killoran, told the show that if he was a person from a migrant background living in East Wall he would be “very concerned" about the recent protests.

If people can generalise about asylum seekers they can generalise about migrants in general.

“If people can generalise about asylum seekers they can generalise about migrants in general. We have to be very wary of making assumptions about large groups of people and assigning very broad generalisations of them about criminality.”

The topic was also covered on Newstalk Breakfast. The co-founder of the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, Lucky Khambule said he has never seen anything like the scenes in East Wall in spite of having lived in Ireland for a decade.

“The protest, to me and to anyone who has been in the system, is a horrendous way to show the welcome here in this country,” he said.

“I have been here almost 10 years. I came here, and I felt welcome where I was. I was in Cork, the community welcomed me - welcomed us - and we have been part of the community since then.

"It is the first time we have seen something like this. This hostility and this anger and this hate that we have seen directed at people that are new in the country and are expecting a much warmer welcome."

He called on protestors to remember that asylum seekers do not arrive in this country by choice.

The comments are vile. The comments are just scary, and it is just intimidating vulnerable people.

“It is not the fault of the people who find themselves in this situation. I see and hear the comments. The comments are vile. The comments are just scary, and it is just intimidating vulnerable people.”

Mr Khambule said clearer consultation with the community in East Wall could have prevented the protests from occurring. However, he stressed that "everyone should be able to do better."

“The Government is facing unprecedented times at this stage because it is an emergency, and it is huge numbers that nobody expected,” he said.

"This year we have seen much more than we have seen in 2013 during the Syrian war but in terms of the treatment, we should do better. Everyone should be able to do better.

"From the Government side of things, from the community in terms of acceptance and the divisions as well.”

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