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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Leah Farrell Protesters gathered in East Wall on Tuesday evening
East Wall

East Wall: Donohoe says residents raised 'important and sensitive' matters relating to housing of refugees

Protests have taken place in East Wall this week.

LAST UPDATE | Nov 25th 2022, 3:39 PM

FINANCE MINISTER PASCHAL Donohoe and Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman met with East Wall residents’ groups today following protests against the housing of refugees at an old ESB building in the area.

In a statement, Donohoe thanked the representatives of the residents of East Wall for meeting with them both.  

“They raised very important and sensitive matters in a direct and appropriate manner.

“I recognise that these are deeply important issues for a community that I am privileged to represent in Dáil Éireann. I will continue to engage with representatives to provide information and I will do my best to respond appropriately to their concerns,” he said in a statement following the meeting. 

Several hundred people attended a protest in the area on Monday against the housing of refugees at an old ESB building. 

One local resident at the protest said there was no consultation with the community ahead of the use of the building for those seeking asylum.

Another smaller protest was held on East Wall Road on Tuesday evening, though local residents did not gather outside the old ESB building.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Donohoe said that during today’s meeting he will be “listening to the many different issues and concerns that are being raised”. 

“I’ll make the point that some of the language, the claims that I am uncomfortable with are being raised by a very, very small number of people,” Donohoe said. 

“I think this is a charged environment that we’re in. It’s been made more difficult by a small number of people” Donohoe said. 

He added: “But in dealing with the residents of East Wall and those who represent them, they are raising these matters, I believe, in an appropriate way and they understand why they’re raising those issues. 

“The East Wall community and many of the communities in the north-east of the city display their generosity and kindness day after day. It’s in that spirit I’m going to be engaging with them.”

Earlier this week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that communities must not have a veto on who gets to live in their area. 

Donohoe said he has also said that in the past, adding: “We are in an extraordinary situation at the moment. In a normal year our country would consider around 4,000 people for participation in our international protection schemes, it’s now over 14,000. 

“We are now supporting 45,000 Ukrainians in our country who are fleeing a war and the choice that we face for many who will be moving into these centres all over Ireland, not just East Wall, is do we leave those who are looking for protection in tents … or do we try provide alternative accommodation?”

Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman is also set to meet with the East Wall residents’ groups. 

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for O’Gorman said the Minister “plans to meet a number of East Wall residents’ groups later this week to discuss their concerns around the use of the former ESB offices to house a mix of families and single people seeking international protection in Ireland”.

“The pressure to accommodate over 64,000 people since the start of the year has meant that the State has been forced to house people in accommodation across the entire country.”

However, the spokesperson added that O’Gorman would not meet with “far-right” groups who have engaged with the protests in recent days.

“The Minister does not intend to meet any far right groups who have attempted to exploit residents’ concerns in East Wall for their own ends.”

Meanwhile, O’Gorman has announced grants totalling €2.7 million to promote to provide employment supports for migrants.

A total of seven projects will be delivered in the coming three year period in multiple locations across Ireland by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), who were successful following an open call for proposals.

The migrant integration projects will provide a range of practical supports directly to migrants, primarily aimed at improving their employability, and will include English language classes and workplace training.

Examples of the migrant integration projects selected for funding include:

  • A project based in Meath that will deliver workplace English-language training (both accredited and non-accredited), CV preparation, Interview skills and one-to-one mentoring
  • A project based in Donegal that will provide individual action plans for participants, addressing educational, training and motivational needs, as well as working with employers to highlight the business advantages of a diverse workforce
  • A Dublin-based project, with extensive links into major employers, will provide support in CV preparation, interview skills, and delivering practical work experience through paid internships, while supporting employers in recruiting and retaining migrant staff.

Announcing the migrant integration funding, the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth said the new projects will help support the integration of our new communities, stating that they are specifically aimed at boosting migrant employability. 

“These grants will bolster the good work being carried out every day by local community organisations and national NGOs in support of migrant integration,” he said.

With reporting by Christina Finn and Tadgh McNally