East Wall protests may lead to seismic shift in attitudes towards uncontrolled immigration

If the mass protests against the asylum accommodation site in East Wall have proven anything, it is that when a community reacts spontaneously against something being imposed upon them that it can very quickly lead to a change in the political discourse.

While unaccountable NGO bosses in the migrant business like Irish Refugee Council CEO Nick Henderson can claim that people in East Wall or Wicklow or Breaffy have no right to a say in what happens with regard to these matters; and while celebrity leftist icons like Panti Bliss can dismiss most of the entire community as racists, those who depend on peoples votes have already conducted a spectacular volte face.

When residents first brought the moving of the young migrant men into the premises to attention last Friday, they were told by local Fine Gael TD Pascal Donohoe that the decision had been made and that it was government policy and that the refugees, who it was implied were Ukrainian women and children would be there for at least 12 months.

Other local representatives, including Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald did not respond to emails from constituents. The brother of another Sinn Féin Dublin TD ludicrously posted an old photo showing a person giving a Nazi salute claiming that it was taken at the protest in East Wall on Saturday. Not only was the photo taken at another location but it is strongly believed that even then it was one of a number of similarly staged photos organised to tar protestors at events which took place during the lockdown.



Kerry Sinn Féin councillor Cathal Foley responded to an Irish Times report referring to local concerns over safety with a tweet that it is hard to imagine his own party leader approving of. Given that it was the same inner city Dubs for whom he clearly has some degree of contempt who voted for her in huge numbers in 2020.



Another far-left group that only last week was threatening people with violence in relation to their voicing concerns or objections regarding the placing of unvetted migrants from countries other than Ukraine (most from countries that are not deemed “unsafe” by the international protection agencies) is now pathetically claiming to be on the side of the people of East Wall.

Their use of a portion of a video taken of one of the speakers at the protest on Monday evening has led to others claiming that the speaker is a “government agent” or a “plant.” As far as Gript is aware, and we have consulted people from the area who are part of the local committee that has been established to organise the protests and to make representations to the authorities, the person in question is both a local person and is entitled to speak on behalf of local people.

Now we have An Taoiseach Micheál Martin stating that there needs to be public consultation, and Sinn Féin – despite not engaging with local people in East Wall prior to yesterday’s protest -taking the same position. As Gript has reported from that event, McDonald was the particular target of local people, a large number of whom voted for Mary Lou in the last general election. Last night, they booed every time her name was mentioned.

The impact of the recent reactions by local communities on Sinn Féin is particularly interesting. The stark contrast between what Councillors such as Michael Mulligan in Roscommon and Kildare South TD Patricia Ryan have said regarding the impact of migrant accommodation and the party line illustrates a dangerous fissure from the point of view of the Sinn Féin leadership.

Many of the more recent recruits to the party since it abandoned militant nationalism are ideologically-left liberals whose natural home would previously have been in one of the other parties of the left. Sinn Féin have obviously colonised that part of the political landscape, but in this case and others the ideological position of many elected representatives, activists and staffers is at loggerheads with the views of their voters.

Sinn Féin are usually adept at compartmentalising both major parts of their appeal to voters. That is only viable, however, when they appear to offer the prospect of actually achieving something for their various constituencies. In the case of East Wall, and other communities around the country, it is simply not possible to ride both the horse of representing people on issues such as housing, community cohesion and safety; and, on the other, the liberal support for the unlimited migration that has been placed on the record by Mary Lou and other Sinn Féin leaders.

On the other hand, it is also the case that several aspiring Marats think that they should be allowed play pass the megaphone in order to tell people what they ought to be doing. One chap seems to have brought his own speaker system last night. While everyone does have a right to an opinion, roaring at speakers from the crowd and attempting to organise your own thing off the top of your head is not going to achieve anything. There is a local committee in place and presumably the people on the committee and in contact with the committee from the local area are best placed to take on board the views of residents and to decide on what course of action ought to be taken.

This is a hugely important issue. It is a zero sum game. Either the state concedes as they did in Finglas in August and move the current residents out, or the protests fail and the issue is lost and the hundreds of young unvetted male migrants, most of who appear to be from countries that are not experiencing the sort of war or crisis that is happening in Ukraine, are allowed to be imposed on the East Wall community. This will likely have the predictable consequences we have witnessed in other parts of Ireland and across Europe.

Achieving the victory that is possible is not going to be furthered by people who think that this is their chance to be Michael Collins.

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