Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has said that he is “disturbed” by protests that took place outside a hotel housing refugees.
Roderic O’Gorman’s Department of Integration also condemned “any attempts to promote division and hostility”, as the Lord Mayor of Dublin expressed concerns that the “far right” were turning up at the demonstrations in Ballymun. It comes just weeks after Minister O’Gorman admitted to Dublin Live that he has concerns about a “small hardcore [group] of far-right activists in this country”.
Videos shared online in recent days show a group of protesters standing outside the Travelodge Hotel in Ballymun chanting “get them out”. The Department of Integration confirmed that there are 221 International Protection seekers staying in the hotel, nine of whom are children. Another 40 asylum-seekers are being accommodated in the Sentinel Building in Ballymun.
Read more: Dublin traffic RECAP as Ballymun protest causes chaos with heavy delays
Some buses had to be diverted out of the area yesterday evening as another protest took place. Minister O’Brien said he was “disturbed” by the events, adding: “People have a right to protest, but in the appropriate place. They don’t have a right to intimidate people either. It concerns me to see that to be very frank.”
A spokesperson for Minister O’Gorman’s Department also condemned the protests, adding: “Over the past year, communities across Ireland have demonstrated great solidarity and welcome for those who come here seeking refuge. The department strongly condemns any attempt to promote division and hostility towards those who come here seeking safety.”
Dublin Lord Mayor Caroline Conroy described the protests as “embarrassing” and “upsetting”. She told RTE’s Today with Claire Byrne: “There are people who are locals there definitely, but an awful lot of them are far-right protesters. They unfurled their protest banners which were quite visual. They’re also going around doing a leaflet drop.”
Ms Conroy organised a public meeting about the issue yesterday but Dublin Live understands there were no Department of Integration representatives present.
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