Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA
Thousands of people have gathered in the centre of Dublin for a demonstration in support of migration and diversity.
The rally, organised by the Ireland For All coalition, began at Parnell Square, with participants marching to the Custom House.
As the event got underway amid a low-key garda presence, those taking part chanted: “Stand up, say it clear, refugees are welcome here!”
Among the wide variety of groups taking part in the demonstration is United Against Racism, MASI, the National Women’s Council of Ireland, TENI and several political parties.
The demonstration was organised in response to some anti-migrant protests that have been held outside centres housing refugees and asylum seekers in counties including Dublin, Cork and Kildare.
The State is providing accommodation to more than 52,000 Ukrainian people and more than 19,300 asylum seekers – a significant increase in the numbers recorded in previous years.
Hotels, B&Bs and refurbished public buildings are being used to house the international protection applicants, though the Government has warned it still faces significant challenges.
In recent months, local groups have raised concerns that they had not been consulted before migrants were moved into their community. Some have also raised concerns about a lack of services to cater for an increased population.
Politicians have argued that a lack of engagement from authorities in some cases has left a vacuum for misinformation to grow and false rumours to spread, sometimes by members of the far-right.
The Government has said the scale of the crisis has not allowed for time to consult with communities, however, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said efforts will be made to improve communications.
Earlier this month, People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy said he believed Ireland is in “a very dangerous situation” in relation to the far-right and the spread of “very racist, divisive, hateful ideas”.
“I think we are on a trajectory for someone being very seriously injured or killed,” he warned.