No level of engagement with local people would have stopped anti-refugee protests in areas across Ireland, Minister Roderic O'Gorman has said.
The Department of Integration is looking to increase their “ability to provide information” to the public when they open new accommodation centres, in light of people protesting against international protection centres in their areas. However, Minister O'Gorman insisted that this would not improve the reaction that certain groups have had.
He told RTE: “In some of the examples, it’s clear no level of consultation, no level of engagement would have changed the outcomes that we've seen. We’ve seen a building set on fire as a result of an untrue rumour, we’ve seen migrants attacked, again, as a result of an untrue rumour.”
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Mr O’Gorman also said that while the Department doesn’t have a policy not to consult with local people, “there is is a real need to open accommodation at speed in order for us to meet our international obligations”. The ‘real need’ is set to become more pronounced, as yesterday Cabinet heard that the shortage of beds for refugees could hit 19,000 by the end of March.
Mr O'Gorman said his Department have consistently been renewing hotel contracts, and they’ve moved to a new ‘bed-only’ type of contract, which no provider has refused yet. “We do have to anticipate that there could be a situation where we use some, particularly as we go into the summer,” he said.
The Minister added that they might need to set up more ‘rest centres’, which are “quite basic”, and “communal” locations where beds and meals can be provided.
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