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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Louise Burne

Leo Varadkar says communities can't 'veto' refugee arrivals following protests in East Wall

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that no community can have a “veto” on who moves into a community following protests in East Wall over the arrival of asylum seekers.

There have been a number of protests in the inner-city Dublin area as locals argued against the arrival of single male international protection seekers.

Up to 370 people can be accommodated in the old ESB building in the area.

READ MORE: Irish mum warns parents over ‘highly-contagious’ virus that left son struggling to breathe

However, there have been some concerns that far-right groups have become involved in the protests, with several politicians arguing that genuine concerns are being overshadowed.

Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman said on Wednesday that the Government was aware of “nefarious” groups who are “misusing concerns”.

Further protests have been postponed following suggestions that Minister O’Gorman will meet with locals later this week.

Speaking in Dun Laoghaire, the Tánaiste said that while communities should be informed and consulted about a large number of new arrivals moving into an area, they cannot “veto” proposals.

“I think it is important that we consult our communities,” Mr Varadkar said.

“I think that is the right thing to do. We'll have to work out how we can do that better in future.

“But I don't think any community can have a veto on who gets to live in their area.

“It's never been the case that when a new housing estate was built near me that I was consulted on who got to live there. The same thing would apply to a new apartment block.

“I think we need to be very careful not to make the mistake of confusing consultation and information with communities, which is important, with the idea that any community can have a veto on the kind of people who get to live in their area.

“That's not right.”

Mr Varadkar noted that the number of refugees arriving in Ireland could reach 70,000 this year, calling it an “unprecedented situation”.

The Tánaiste also said that he cannot rule out Ukrainian refugees becoming homeless in the new year, but that the Government will do “everything we can to avoid that happening”.

“We'll do everything we can to provide them with shelter and that will range from accommodation in people's homes to retrofitting old warehouses, office blocks, using hotels, using modular housing and rapid building,

“We'll do everything we can to make sure that everyone has shelter.

“It's impossible to make an absolute commitment of that nature [that no one will become homeless].

“What I can say is that everyone will be offered shelter.”


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