C: Dermot Roantree / Wikipedia under CC BY-SA 4.0

What right has Peter McVerry to call for protesters to be criminalised?

One of things that almost all of the people who have been setting up #CraggyislandForAll and attacking people who have attended protests, have in common is that they are all getting money from the state. 

Actually, allow me to rephrase that. What they have in common is that all of them get YOUR money through the state.

Many are part of the multi-billion NGO sector, presided over by what is in effect a New Class of people whose business is Caring, or so they would have you believe.

Some of them, however, may be worthwhile local groups involved in sport and other community activities who perhaps feel that it is best, when asked, to agree to sign something rather than causing the person who is making the request to take the hump and maybe lose your sports capital grant application in the post. Pure speculation on my part, of course.

For those directly involved in the asylum caper, there are hundreds of millions of euro and recycled American Woke Foundation dollars involved.

And no more than any other niche entrepreneur they are not going to allow anyone to come between their beak and the water bowl. That’s a major part of why they demonise protesters and shout down anyone who points out the obvious: that we cannot provide for the huge increase in the number of people who are coming here claiming asylum.

It caused a fair amount of anger online then, when Fr. Peter McVerry called for ‘safe zones’ to stop people in working-class areas protesting against centres being opened without consultation or regard for the needs of the local people.

“There is legislation to ban anti-abortion activists protesting near abortion providers. Maybe something like that could be introduced to stop these worrying protests right outside people’s homes,” McVerry told the Irish Times.

Exclusion zones are one of the key tactics of the radical Left to protect the abortion industry but whether he agrees with them on that I do not know. He did, however, reference that legislation as a good model, so I am going to assume that he likely does, until I hear different. (It’s worth noting that for the pro-lifers, the protests which they might now be jailed for involves silent prayer or holding placards offering help.)

The McVerry Trust received over €1,400,000 from the Department of Justice and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth for the provision of accommodation and services to people claiming asylum between 2019 and 2021.

This is apart altogether from the tens of millions (€41 million in 2021 alone) they already receive from the taxpayer each year. The bulk of this, as with all of the other homelessness companies and NGOs in general, goes to paying their own staff – an expenditure of €33 million in 2021. The McVerry trust currently employs somewhere in the region of 500 people.

While some may feel the Trust is above criticism, those who live in the areas where their failures impact most might disagree.

One of the flats which they had allocated to a client was the site of a gruesome murder and had been the subject of complaints from local residents in Kevin Barry House in Dublin’s north inner city due to anti-social behaviour and its use as a suspected drugs den.

There were also concerns voiced late last year regarding the use of another of the company’s flats to house newly released rapist Simon McGinley, who raped a 13-year old girl and, on release, also raped and attacked an 85-year old woman.

There is also the broader question which needs to be asked of the entire homeless sector, which is, given the enormous funding they receive, whether they are succeeding in reducing homelessness? And will they prove any better at solving the migrant accommodation problem?

Or will housing for migrants simply be merged into the ongoing homelessness crisis, with the same actors then telling people that they should not be allowed to protest – and in fact that they may be jailed for protesting.

That would set a very dangerous precedent, and not one you’d expect from a priest who should know that people are entitled to a home, and are also entitled to the freedom to protest against what they see as unfair treatment on housing and other issues.

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