A second successive night of protests around Finglas village about ongoing concerns regarding another proposed migrant accommodation centre drew hundreds of people. The organisers later met with officials from International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) and others representing Minister Roderic O’Gorman, including his advisor Eoin Wilson.
The meeting was also attended by the three sitting TDs for Dublin North West; Dessie Ellis of Sinn Féin, Paul McAuliffe of Fianna Fáil, and Roisín Shortall of the Social Democrats. A number of local councillors were present.
While one of the councillors engaged in the usual rhetoric about the “far right” and “racists”, a person who attended the meeting as a local representative said that the councillor told her that he did not believe that the HSE would give its approval for the former Bargaintown centre to be used as an accommodation centre because of the strength of local opposition.
It was also noted that a leading member of a local residents group who had attended an earlier meeting with IPAS, and at that time appeared to be in support of the centre, now expressed his dissatisfaction in strong terms, and walked out. Another local man who is well known in Finglas as a community activist and as a prominent member and supporter of Sinn Féin voiced similar concerns. Neither person has taken part in any of the protests which received widespread traction on social media this week.
It is clear that those community activists and representatives of those opposed to the centre have not been reassured about the claims by local elected politicians and state officials that the centre will be exclusively used for Ukrainian women and children, to whom local people said they had no objection.
Instead, they fear that “unvetted” migrants, many without identifying documents, who have been housed in other parts of Dublin and elsewhere, will make up much of those being housed. It is also felt that at a time of increasingly scarce resources, many migrants who are for the greater part from what the state itself recognises as “countries of safe origin,” will be given accommodation.
Interestingly, when one of the people at the meeting asked Eoin Wilson whether the Irish state has an “opt in, opt out” right of decision with regard to the taking in of refugees and the numbers, Wilson told him that they were bound by the EU on this matter.
However, as Gript previously pointed out the relevant Directive 2001/55/EC clearly does provide for any EU state to limit numbers based on “capacity to receive such persons.” The Irish government is now, of course, basically admitting that capacity has been breached.
From what can be seen on videos and messages posted online this week, local people in working-class communities seem to be at the end of their tether.
As things stand, it seems to be the case that the centre has not been formally approved by the HSE, nor been granted planning permission to be used as a residential centre, nor it is believed has it been granted the necessary fire certification by Dublin Fire Brigade.
However, the sense that people who were at the meeting got was that the authorities are determined to open the North Road site, and that this will take place as soon as it can.
The only thing, as the local councillor privately indicated, standing in the way of that is the ongoing and seemingly growing local opposition. As things stand, that opposition has not only not disappeared, as they clearly hoped, but has grown considerable stronger as it has in other parts of Dublin.
The Irish have their dander up again. They are marching on the streets of Finglas to express their anger toward the stream of immigrants coming into their country. LOTS OF IMMIGRANTS = LOTS OF DISSATISFACTION.pic.twitter.com/vgaH4d09jb
— Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) January 26, 2023
According to one of the people who attended the meeting, the officials refused to discuss any other issue than Ukrainian refugees and the need to speed up the preparation of the building. So, locals say, there are no indications as to who might end up in the new centre.
This has fuelled suspicions that despite the government’s own admission that they are not able to house the numbers of people arriving from safe countries, and despite their “appeal” to others not to follow the same routes, that the state is still intending to house such dubious asylum seekers in centres such as the one earmarked in Finglas.