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Cork candidates to attend meet and greet with asylum seekers

This follows outrage last week at management rules in asylum centres forbidding candidates from canvassing residents.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

A SUPPORT GROUP for migrants and asylum seekers will host an event later today, inviting local election candidates to meet with them and discuss their issues.

Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre, which is based in Cork, said the aim of the event is to “facilitate an open discussion on migrant issues between local migrant communities and candidates for the local elections”. The informal ‘meet and greet’ will allow asylum seekers and migrant communities the opportunity to have their voice heard by their local representatives.

Nasc said it also provides an opportunity for candidates to meet and engage with migrant voters in their constituency and develop a deeper understanding of the issues that are most pertinent to migrants.

This event comes on foot of news last week that politicians have been forbidden from canvassing for votes in Ireland’s asylum centres even though thousands of people who live in them are allowed to vote in the upcoming elections.

Management at these direct provision centres had ruled that politicians were not even allowed to give their leaflets to residents.

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Following the outraged expressed by a number of candidates, like Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire who first raised the issue, management made a u-turn and told staff that candidates should be allowed to drop off leaflets for residents to read.

“Although the ban has now been amended slightly to allow the distribution of election materials, we are still concerned that the ban on canvassing may infringe upon the democratic rights of asylum seekers,” commented Nasc CEO Fiona Finn. “Direct provision centres are effectively their homes while they are waiting an outcome of their application.”

The event will take place at Nasc’s offices on Ferry Lane in Cork from 2pm to 4pm today. Ten candidates are already confirmed, including Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Lord Mayor Catherine Clancy, Chris O’Leary, Lorraine Kingston, Mick Barry, Cormac Manning, Dan Boyle, Shane O’Callaghan, Marion O’Sullivan, John Kelleher, Liz Dunphy and John Buttimer.

Read: Politicians are not allowed to talk to people seeking asylum in Ireland>

Read: Policy u-turn means people seeking asylum can now receive election leaflets>

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