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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Dan Grennan

'Embarrassing' refugee protests in East Wall, Dublin slammed by locals

East Wall locals have slammed the "embarrassing" protests calling for the removal of refugees from a former ESB office block.

A group of local residents and far right activists have been protesting outside the office block on the East Wall Road for a couple of weeks. It is understood around 100 refugees have been moved into the converted offices.

The demonstrations escalated on Monday when protestors blocked traffic using the Port Tunnel.

The group, known as the East Wall Protest Committee, vowed yesterday to continue to block the tunnel every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5pm until their demands are met. Local Social Democrat TD Gary Gannon has claimed the protest has become a "far-right rally" because of outsiders coming in to "hijack" the demonstration.

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

And residents who spoke to Dublin Live were highly critical of the demonstrations, which they said were "ridiculous", "disgraceful" and "embarrassing". However, a few added that there should have been consultation from the Government before the refugees were moved in.

Much-loved comedian Killian Sundermann told Dublin Live: "I think it is disgraceful. I think it is really, really bad.

Protesters blocking traffic on East Wall Road, where they marched to Dublin Port on Monday, November 28 (Colin Keegan, Collins)
Traffic at a stand still as protestors block the road on East Wall Road on Monday where they marched to Dublin Port and blocked traffic in both directions for about 45 minutes (Colin Keegan, Collins Agency, Dublin)

"If people are saying they have a problem with the Government then why are they doing it outside of that building there [the ESB Office Block]. The Government don't sit there."

The comedian, who was a part of RTE's No Worries If Not! comedy sketch show, added: "The only reason they seem to be there is to intimidate, and I think it is just a really horrible thing to do. I don't know what their aim is but it appears to me they want to make a very bad vibe for people in difficult circumstances."

Horrald Tolfts, who has been living in East Wall for ten years and works in IT, said the protests "shouldn't have happened". He said: "I think it is a bit outrageous to be honest. The building is empty and people need help. I don't see what the big issue is.

"I'd say there are local people but not only. There is some kind of hatred for the way they perceive the Government is ignoring them and helping foreigners. I think that is where it is coming from."

He added: "It doesn't make sense to me. I was extremely surprised given the history of Ireland - it is kind of a joke. If you took a minute and looked at Irish history, you would realise that is what Irish people have been doing as well."

A woman said the "radical" aspects of the protest had brought an "element of fear" to the area which she was "ashamed of". She added: "It is not tight to block up the Port Tunnel - they are people just trying to go home."

Chef Paddy Twamley, whose family first lived in East Wall nearly 200 years ago, said he was "embarrassed" by the protests and what has been said at them. He said: "There should have been more information given to the residents beforehand.

"I am not from East Wall, I am from Ballymun, but I have been here for over 15 years now. It is slightly embarrassing to say now that everybody you live with are behaving like racists.

"I am hoping there is no way there are that many people from East Wall protesting there. If there wasn't people from other parts of the city or country, I'd be very surprised."

Another woman, who lives in an apartment directly across from the office block, said she was against the refugees being moved into the office block because of the already overcrowded services for children in the area.


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