A protest was held outside the former Dominican Fathers’ retreat house earlier this week following confirmation from the Department of Integration that it was considering an offer of accommodation for refugees. Photo: Google

Calls to reject refugee protests

There have been calls by local councillors and TDs to reject protests after a demonstration was held outside the gates of the former Dominican Fathers' retreat house, Ennismore, earlier this week.

The protestors were opposed to the property being considered as an option to house Ukrainian refugees fleeing from war, following confirmation from the Department of Integration that it was considering an offer of accommodation from the property’s private owners.

However, on Tuesday, the department released a statement, saying that the property was no longer being considered. “Following a full review, taking into account the needs across our overall accommodation portfolio, this offer is not being progressed,” it said.

Speaking about the conflicting statements, Cllr Kenneth O’Flynn said: “The use of cloak-and-dagger tactics with smoke and mirrors contradicts the values they preach. I firmly believe that this entire situation could have been avoided with clear, honest, and professionally written communication.”

“I am delighted that we won’t have a stress or a strain on our services in the Montenotte, Mayfield and Tivoli area,” he said.

The demonstration, which took place on Monday night, saw up to 200 people outside the gates of the property at one point. A prominent member of Ireland First, who regularly use the hashtag ‘Ireland Is Full’ encouraged people to attend the protest through social media channels.

Green Party Cllr. Oliver Moran stated that, in contrast to the recent protest, the local community welcomes migrants, and is not in favour of the demonstrations.

"The rumour mill was hard at work in relation to Ennismore. It was never under consideration for International Protection, but if doubts can be introduced, then people can be made feel they have to assume the worst.

"The community in Mayfield and Montenotte have shown themselves to be welcoming to Ukranian refugees. They're a part of our community already in Clifton House and Hyde Park House.

He said that local representatives need to be “a lot more careful” with how they approach the issue of housing migrants and that it is “too dangerous to play games with."

Speaking about the protests, he added: "People living nearby, men included, told me they felt intimidated and frightened for the first time in their own neighbourhood. They don't want protests in the area.”

People Before Profit TD Mick Barry said that “there is absolutely nothing to gain for working class people from targeting refugees or refugee accommodation”.

“The organisers of this protest were not ordinary people concerned about housing but far right political activists who don't represent the views of the vast majority in Mayfield,” he said.

Cllr Brian McCarthy of the Solidarity Party said that he is concerned “about the possibility of future protests targeting refugees or refugee accommodation”.

“Migrants we've spoken to are very worried by the increase in far right activity and incitement against refugees and migrants. There's huge anger out there but it should be directed against those responsible; the Government, landlords and speculators, not refugees,” he said.