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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Sarah Slater

East Wall protesters vow to continue blocking Port Tunnel until asylum centre is shut down

Blockades of Dublin’s Port tunnel are set to continue until an accommodation centre for asylum seekers in East Wall in Dublin is shut down, protestors have vowed.

The next blockade is expected to go ahead tonight at the Port and they will continue every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until their concerns are addressed adequately.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman met with concerned residents in Dublin’s East Wall last Friday over concerns that 380 asylum seekers are to be housed at two properties in the north inner city without any consultation.

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So far almost 200 male asylum seekers have been housed at a former ESB site in the North Wall and in North Richmond Street. To date all of the asylum seekers are from Somalia, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

The Government has said that women and children will also be housed at both properties.

Four protests have already been held with the most recent on Monday night stopping traffic which the East Wall Protest Committee say they

“successfully blocked the port tunnel entrance into East Wall, backing commuter and commercial traffic up all the way back out to the M50 and beyond.”

Conditions the asylum seekers are being forced to live in are not acceptable, claim protestors.

Nigel Murphy, a Committee spokesperson said: “Our actions are regrettable but necessary. We offered to work with the government on a solution and they dismissed us. Their refusal to listen to us has forced our hand.

“Our protest will continue every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until further notice or until the Provision centre is closed down. This is just a small taste of what’s to come. Protests will escalate nationwide if this government does not close this centre in its entirety.

"Those affected by this can raise their concerns directly with those responsible for bringing about this desperate situation (Government Ministers Roderic O’Gorman and Paschal Donohoe).

“This is not about not wanting asylum seekers in our community, it's purely about housing them in appropriate accommodation and not in old office blocks.”

Protesters pictured blocking traffic on East Wall Road where they marched to Dublin Port on Monday (Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin)

Councillors and Dublin City Council managers were informed in a meeting almost two weeks convened by the Department for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth that the Afghanistan, Nigerian and Somali men were to be housed at the former East Wall ESB building.

Neither councillors, Council management nor local residents were consulted on the housing of the asylum seekers in the building which looks directly onto the Lighthouse apartment complex and primary school.

Councillors at the meeting asked for further time to consult with the Department over the housing of the men however on Friday evening the male refugees arrived on buses outside the former ESB building.

In last Friday’s meeting the Department said the former ESB office building on East Wall Road has been converted into an accommodation centre in response to mounting pressure being put on the country's commitment to house asylum seekers.

The Department has circulated an information leaflet to all residents in the area this week.

However Mr Murphy added that the Committee has received “huge support from all over Ireland.”

“Some of this support has come from political entities and although we welcome this support, we must insist we move forward with the wishes of the people of East Wall and keep the protests free from political opportunism and sabotage.

Mr Murphy explained: “We welcome all participants, citizen journalists and observers but political messaging such as speeches and banners etc during our protests will be rejected by East Wall residents. Instead we ask you all to support us in your individual capacities.

“We are not a platform for point scoring, votes or virtue signalling. This is a real community with real people who simply ask for your support as we face down this government. The people of East Wall have heard harrowing stories from all over Ireland of similar situations. We have shown Ireland what’s possible and we call on you, the people of Ireland, to take action countrywide.”

Both Ministers have said that nobody has a veto on who lives beside them. Minister Donohoe said he will “listen” to what the Residents’ Group have to say but that he is not happy “with inappropriate language” previously used about the male asylum seekers being housed at the former ESB building.

Minister Donohoe added: “We can’t leave them sitting on tents and chairs no matter what part of the country they (asylum seekers) are in,” added Minister Donohoe. “I know why these issues are being raised.

“I believe the old ESB will remain open. If we close it we will cause the same issues to move somewhere else. These types of centres will be opened for a short time. We have an obligation to help”.


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