A Roscommon councillor has said that the town of Ballaghaderreen has become a ‘dumping ground for refugees’, and that “illegal refugees” should be “sent back to where they came from”.
Sinn Féin councillor, Michael Mulligan, said there was a ‘limit to what Ireland can take’ in a Facebook post, according to the Sunday Independent.
Cllr Mulligan wrote that: “Ireland is facing a refugee crisis, unlike anything seen before and while the Irish people are one of the most compassionate people in the world, there is a limit to what we can take.
“I see my own town of Ballaghaderreen full with over 26 nationalities where there is no work, doctors ran of their feet, limited gardaí, schools full etc, and now I hear we are to get 135 EXTRA refugees. God help them and God help us.
“We have had enough and more than our share of both legal refugees and illegal refugees.
“We have become a dumping ground for the Government and the get-rich-quick so-called do-gooders who have buildings and houses to rent… this has to stop.
He said that ‘legal refugees’ should be ‘placed in work’ and ‘illegal refugees’ should be ‘sent back to where they came from’.
“Legal refugees should be placed in areas of work and services and illegal refugees sent back to where they came from — is that to much to ask? And, yes, we have our own very big problem — 10,000 homeless — that have to be looked after,” the Sinn Féín Councillor wrote.
Figures show that Ireland is taking well above average per capita numbers of Ukrainian refugees.
In addition to those numbers, the number of non-Ukrainians migrants arriving in Ireland from countries which are war-torn have surged, especially after Minister Roderic O’Gorman publicised the government’s plans to provide those claiming asylum with homes, financial support and other benefits.
Now, the massive surge in migrants and asylum seekers has sharply exacerbated the housing crisis – and towns like Killarney are now finding that tourism is being badly affected by the thousands of additional people placed in the town, often without prior discussion with the local people.
The government’s decision to load more than 4,300 migrants and asylum seekers into south Kerry, means that the number of tourist beds in Killarney are down by up to 40%, with a hugely negative impact on the town’s bars and cafes, Independent Councillor Niall O’Callaghan says.
He argues that tour operators will move elsewhere – a real threat to businesses already hard hit by Covid lockdowns.
The local Chamber of Tourism and Commerce says that it only learns of another arrival of refugees when buses pull up at hotel doors.
In common with other areas, anger is growing at the lack of communication from government, seen as arrogant by many locals, especially when additional supports are not put in place to support the influx of people.
The hashtag #IrelandIsFull trends on Twitter regularly as people, many who feel their concerns are being ignored, voice their frustrations on social media.
Michael Fitzmaurice, an Independent TD in Roscommon-Galway, told the Independent that there was “some truth” in Councillor Mulligan’s Facebook post, though he said he would not have used the term “dumping ground”.