Press Release: Immigrant Council urges government to empower an ‘infrastructure of welcome’ in Irish communities, in response to migration crisis
Thursday, 18th May 2023
Immigrant Council urges government to empower an ‘infrastructure of welcome’ in Irish communities, in response to migration crisis
Commenting today (18.05.23) on the recent anti-migrant incidents across the country, Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said: “First and foremost, as communities, we must keep central to our responses the fact that those who seek protection in Ireland are human beings deserving of dignity, human rights, and an opportunity to feel safe and welcome in Ireland.
“The attack, and destruction of property witnessed at the anti-migrant protest last Friday in Dublin was a despicable display of violence and intimidation that the Immigrant Council of Ireland deeply condemns. In recent days, the blockade of the hotel in Inch, including an incident where protesters boarded a bus in a clear invasion of privacy for the migrant men on-board, has shown that tensions at community level can quickly escalate and send the entirely wrong message about the welcome of Irish communities.”
Urging strong law enforcement responses to far-right organisations, Mr. Killoran continued: “The far-right in Ireland may be small, but they are bent on disruption and intimidation, and as we have seen this past week, are not above the use of violence as an ever-present threat. This approach in no way represents the values and perspectives of the vast majority of the Irish public. Most are rightly disgusted by the lies and misinformation we have heard and abhor that any of this activity is purported to be carried out in the name of this welcoming, diverse, and prosperous country.
“We are living through the most intense migration crisis the State has ever experienced, and an urgent, joined-up approach across all of Government is required, as well as adequate resourcing and engagement of homeless services, community development organisations and other support agencies. Communities cannot be expected to organise resistance to the far-right by themselves alone.
“The Government needs to step-up its efforts in communicating and supporting communities across the country, so that those seeking protection can be accommodated safely and that hatred and violence in our communities are not left to breed. We must establish an infrastructure of welcome in Irish communities, building on the positive values and actions of many communities across the country to date.
“We recognise the efforts of Minister O’Gorman and Minister O’Brien to resolve the situation, and the immense work that has gone on within the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in the past 12 months to respond to an extraordinary situation. However, at this critical juncture, that Department must be supported by other Government departments, such as the Department of Housing, to develop lasting solutions.
“The homelessness situation of International Protection applicants, just like the homelessness situation of the population more broadly, cannot be allowed to persist. Similarly, the conditions that refugees in Ireland arrive into must be improved and resourced into the medium and long term. As a country, we have both legal and moral obligations to address the situation and invest in future responses.
“Those who come to our shores seeking protection, whether they are from Ukraine or from any other country, are human beings to be treated with dignity, respect and equality. It is our duty to respond appropriately, and to show unequivocally that Irish society rejects the negative and divisive stances taken by a minority of individuals who offer no solutions. We must stand united against the spread of hatred in our communities and protect the values of respect and equality.”
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Notes to Editors
About the Immigrant Council of Ireland
The Immigrant Council of Ireland is the leading voice in securing improved rights and protections which benefit Irish citizens, migrants and their families. Founded by Sr Stanislaus Kennedy in 2001, the Immigrant Council of Ireland uses its frontline services to meet the immediate needs and counter the challenges faced by immigrants in Ireland. The organisation uses this experience to put forward clear, evidence-based proposals to change Irish law. For more information, please visit www.immigrantcouncil.ie.
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