An RTÉ audience member has slammed the government for its handling of Ireland’s asylum policy, saying that everything the “far-right” said would happen for years “has been proved right” as regards immigration.
The remarks were made on Monday January 30th, during a debate on Ireland’s asylum policy on RTÉ’s programme Upfront.
Credit: RTÉ’s “UPFRONT”
During the Q&A, one man said he was from Lismore in Co. Waterford, and had been involved in the Lismore Welcome Project in 2019.
“Four years ago, in 2019, I was part of the Lismore Welcome Project, when we brought a Syrian family to Lismore,” he said.
“At that very meeting, David Stanton stood up – he was the Minister [of State at the Department of Justice] then – and told us the hotel would not be used for refugees.”
He added: “What is happening now is, they are proceeding without planning for the building. And it is feeding into the far-right, and it is giving the far-right an argument.” He also said that it was done “without consultation” with local residents.
The man said that arguments made by people he believed to be “far-right” at the time had since been proven correct by the government’s current policies.
“The far-right was at that meeting four years ago, and everything they said at the meeting has been proved right,” he said, adding: “It’s the government’s fault.”
At that point the man was interrupted by RTÉ presenter Katie Hannon, who said “You’re not suggesting that we should be listening to what the people on the far-right are telling us about this issue?”
Before the man could respond, Fine Gael Minister of State and equality spokesperson Jennifer Carrol-MacNeill interjected.
“The facts have completely changed since 2019, with every respect,” she said.
“I mean, there was no war in Ukraine at that point. We weren’t dealing with anything like the numbers. And so I understand the frustration, but the facts are completely different.”
The man replied by saying the Minister and her government had “fed into” what the “far-right” had said.
“Now you’re proceeding with a building that hasn’t got planning [permission]. You’re breaking the very law that you made in November. You just made it before Christmas.”
At that point the presenter announced that the panel had to “move on” and go to another speaker, at which point the exchange was ended.