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'No place for racism of any form': Leo Varadkar criticises anti-refugee protests in Ballymun

The protests have taken place over the last three days.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has criticised anti-refugee protests that have taken place in Ballymun over the last three nights, saying that there is “no place” for racism of any kind.

A third protest in the North Dublin area took place last night outside a Travelodge on the Shangan Road, which is currently being used to house International Protection applicants.

There was widespread condemnation of the protests yesterday, with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien saying that he was “disturbed” by some of the footage he had seen online, with protestors chanting “get them out” and holding signs that called for the resignation of Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Varadkar said that there wasn’t any excuse for “racism of any form”, agreeing with O’Brien’s comments that they were disturbing.

“I just saw some of it in the coverage online, I don’t think that there’s any excuse for racism of any form,” Varadkar said.

He said that Ireland had taken around 70,000 Ukrainian refugees in since the war began and accepted that the response by the Government hasn’t been perfect.

“I am proud of the fact that we as a country have welcomed so many people into Ireland and of course, there are people that are coming from other parts of the world who are applying for international protection and they have the right to do so.

We just need to make sure that those applications are are processed as quickly as possible.

“I just don’t think there’s any excuse for hatred being directed at anyone because of their nationality or their racial background or any other reason.”

According to the Department of Integration, there are currently 221 International Protection applicants living at the Travelodge, including families, couples and single people. Of the 221, nine are children.

In a statement yesterday, the Department also condemned the protests.

“Over the past year, communities across Ireland have demonstrated great solidarity and welcome for those who come here seeking refuge. The Department strongly condemns any attempt to promote division and hostility towards those who come here seeking safety,” a spokesperson said.

A Garda spokesperson said that the protest took place yesterday evening and that it was watched by Gardaí.

“A group of people gathered peacefully at Ballymun Road, Ballymun, Dublin 9 on the evening of Monday 9th January 2023,” said a spokesperson.

“The group were kept under observation by uniformed Gardaí before they dispersed. No offences were disclosed.”

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