Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman and local Dublin Central TD, Minister Paschal Donohoe, have met with East Wall residents protesting over the arrival of hundreds of Ukrainian refugees into their community.
The politicians told the Dublin inner city locals that the placing of the refugees in their community was done as part of a “crisis” response to an international emergency.
The meeting was organised by Mr Donohoe in an attempt to address the concerns of the residents who have been protesting against the arrival of 380 refugees in the area.
The Ukrainians are fleeing the terrible war in their home country being waged by Russia.
The group is being housed in a converted ESB building as part of the Government’s response to the humanitarian crisis.
But local residents are not happy with the concentration of so many refugees in this space.
Hundreds of people have turned out at protests and joined local residents in expressing their opposition to the Government’s move over the past fortnight.
Following the meeting, a spokesman for Mr Donohoe said: “I want to thank the representatives of the residents of East Wall for meeting Minister O’Gorman and I.
“They raised very important and sensitive matters in a direct and appropriate manner.
“I recognise that these are deeply important issues for a community that I am privileged to represent in Dáil Éireann.
“I will continue to engage with representatives to provide information and I will do my best to respond appropriately to their concerns.”
A spokesman for Mr O’Gorman said: “The Minister met with a number of East Wall residents’ representatives this morning, in a meeting facilitated by Minister Donohoe.
“He provided an overview of the crisis context in which buildings, like the building in East Wall, must be repurposed to provide shelter to those seeking refuge.
“He responded to residents’ questions and concerns about the use of the building and gave information on what kind of supports are offered to those residing there.”
Earlier in the day, Mr Donohoe said he did not consider the protestors to be racists.
He told RTE’s Morning Ireland: “I think some of the language that is being used by a very small number of people, I am uncomfortable with.
“I'm going to pause for now, in using that term [racist], because I want to engage with and listen to broader concerns that are being raised and try to respond back to many other issues that I accept are genuine.
“I think this is a charged environment that we're in.
“It's been made more difficult by a small number of people.
“The East Wall community and many of the communities in the Northeast in a city display their generosity and kindness day after day.”
A spokesman for the Department of Integration confirmed that all of the Ukrainians currently living in the old ESB building, 100, are single males.
But he added that the rest of the arrivals would be families.
He said: “The capacity of the building at East Wall is 380 persons, made up of families and single adults seeking International Protection, on separate access controlled floors.
“Singles will not have access to the family floors.
“Residents will be accommodated over 5 floors, mainly in twin bedrooms, with family rooms ranging from four up to six beds per room to a small number of dormitory style bedrooms. “The first residents arrived last week of approximately 100 single males who had been sheltering in tents over the last few months or who had been without beds for some weeks in Citywest, who remain the only residents in the building at present.
“The intention is that the next group to move in would be families.
“No date is set for that move at present.”
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