Anger as NGO says locals in East Wall have “no right” to decide who is brought to live there

Irish Refugee Council

Anger and incredulity have been expressed online after the Chief Executive Officer of an Irish NGO said on RTÉ that communities such as those in East Wall “don’t have a right” to determine who is accommodated in their area.

Nick Henderson, who is the CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, told RTÉ’s News at One that previously the government had said that locals ‘shouldn’t have a veto’ on who came to live with them.

He said he was “concerned” that there was a push-back from communities in regard to asylum seekers and migrants being placed in their area.

Mr Henderson also said that the government didn’t have to engage with a “broad consultation” with communities initially, and that identifying local leaders who supported moving in refugees and having a national communications plan in support of migrants and asylum seekers was key.

However, many of those who responded online, pointed out that huge numbers of those now arriving in Ireland were not vetted, while thousands did not even have identifying papers.

Presenter Brian Dobson asked if local people had a right to seek that a mix of individuals and families rather than single men be placed in communities.

Mr Henderson responded by saying “I don’t think they have a right”, adding that this was “drifting into very dangerous territory” and that people had to be careful about stigmatising single men which “could be racist”.

His remarks were sharply criticised on social media, as many disagreed with his assessment of the situation.

“The key here is education for locals. Educating them as to who paid for the bus, where they’re from, why there’s no women or children, why there’s no consultation, why was Ireland chosen as their destination, do they have documents or criminal records, how many more will arrive,” wrote one man.

“Some statement to make…..and he will get away with what he said,” was another response.

“Another tax payer funded quango that is more interested in these individuals breaking the law and protecting their rights.”

“The Irish Refugee Council should be de-funded. They don’t represent the interests of the Irish citizens, so why should we pay for them?” was another comment.

“Did he actually say that? If so, very ill advised. Rhetoric from people with an agenda only serves to inflame an already contentious situation. East Wall residents have every right to be consulted when a large number of unvetted foreign males are being dropped in their midst,” said another response.

Meanwhile, former Green candidate Saoirse McHugh was accused of making the controversy “about skin colour” after she said “I hate, hate, hate the idea that people should be ‘consulted'” on who was moving into their area.

“Why did you have to bring “white” and irrelevant option of race into it? It’s got nothing to do with skin colour and never should. It’s to do with security and border control. Why do we have gates and locks in our homes same principle – security and safety,” said one response.

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