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Debunked: Asylum seekers, not economic migrants, are being housed at the East Wall building

Multiple false claims were levied against asylum seekers and Ukrainian refugees

A VIDEO FEATURING numerous false claims about asylum seekers and people fleeing the war in Ukraine has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook.

The video features Ben Gilroy, a known spreader of misinformation, standing in front of a building formerly used by ESB in East Wall (which he mistakenly calls “Ringsend” multiple times).

In the video, Gilroy says, “Ireland has no problem with genuine asylum refugees”, before going on to say: “but that’s not what’s happening here, or all throughout the country. What’s happening here, and the problem is economic migrants in the country, and they are flooding the country.”

This is untrue. The migrants housed in the old building are not “economic migrants” – a term used to describe people seeking jobs or better living conditions, but who are not refugees, such as Irish people who go to work abroad in places like America or Australia.

Those housed in the old building have all sought international protection.

“The capacity of the building at East Wall is 380 persons, made of up families and single adults seeking International Protection, on separate access controlled floors”, The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, which is leading the response to house refugees, told The Journal.

The Department of Justice has yet to determine the status of the asylum seekers staying in this building

They will either find the applicants to be genuine refugees or, if not, will issue deportation orders against them

Later in the same video, Gilroy said: “They certainly didn’t look like Ukrainians to me. Furthermore, even if they were Ukrainians, and Ukrainian men, why are we harbouring those running from a war, when they should be fighting in their own war? It’s illegal for them to leave their country and not fight the war.”

It is true that the first group to be housed in the old ESB building were all male, however, the government made no claims that all those being housed in the building are from Ukraine.

“The first residents arrived last week of approximately 80 single males who had been temporarily accommodated in tents over the last few months or who had been without beds for some weeks in Citywest, who remain the only residents in the building at present,” The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, which is leading the response to house refugees said.

“The intention is that the next group to move in would be families.”

Regardless, even if the group were all Ukrainian, the argument made in the video suggesting that men should not be leaving the country is invalid.

While rules against leaving Ukraine have been enacted since the Russian invasion, there are multiple exceptions, including for men aged 18-60 who are ineligible or unfit to serve in the military.

In a video address in November, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, thanked the people of Ireland for welcoming Ukrainian refugees into the country.

As such, we find the claims that the asylum seekers at East Wall are “economic migrants”, and that any Ukrainians there must have left Ukraine illegally, are false.

The Journal’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.