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Protesters at the makeshift camp on Mount Street.

Mount Street protesters take aim at Helen McEntee for ‘recycling far-right rhetoric’

The small protest featured banners from United Against Racism, People Before Profit, and Industrial Workers of the World.

ACTIVISTS AT THE makeshift migrant camp on Mount Street in Dublin city have criticised the Government for its approach to housing asylum seekers.

At a protest organised at the tents today, located next to the International Protection Office (IPO) where people apply for asylum, speakers criticised the government for divisive actions.

There are 1,758 people who have sought asylum in Ireland who are without an offer of State accommodation, according to Government figures. 

Siomha Hennessy, of United Against Racism, told the protest that whether a person is an asylum seeker or Irish-born, there is “no reason that anybody at all should be living in a tent”.

“None of this is the fault of asylum seekers. Not one bit of it,” she added.

She said that the protest would march to the Department of Integration and Equality, and the Minister at that Department, Roderic O’Gorman, has been “nowhere to be seen” and “remains MIA”.

The small protest featured banners from United Against Racism, People Before Profit, and Industrial Workers of the World.

One activist said that Justice Minister Helen McEntee’s use of “illegal” in relation to migration was “recycling” far-right rhetoric.

Roisin McAleer, of Social Rights Ireland, said the tents at Mount Street are now “sprawling out of control” down side streets, describing it as an “impossible situation”.

“There are definitely people who have arrived here traumatised,” she said, adding that she had heard of “horrific” journeys to get to Ireland.

She said the disorder at protests being held at properties around the country, such as the one in Newtownmountkennedy in Co Wicklow on Thursday, is the result of “whipping up fear”.

Gardaí said they came “under attack” in Newtownmountkennedy as protests on Thursday descended into violence; Garda Commissioner Drew Harris stated that one patrol car was damaged with a full-sized axe.

“A lot of the people who are protesting now and being extremely angry and that anger is turning to violence, I know they’re not there to oppose direct provision for the same reason that I would oppose direct provision,” McAleer said.

“But there’s an easy way to allay fear, and then there’s a way to whip up fear. And you whip up fear when you transport a lot of people of the same gender, or who look like ‘the other’ and you put them in a building.

“That’s not what integration looks like, integration means being able to be part of the community. To be interspersed, not hoarded or warehoused.”

She added: “I’m not trying to say I understand racists or the far-right, I’m not at all sympathetic to that, but what I do understand is playing on people’s fears. It’s a classic divide and conquer tactic.

“The government should be doing everything to allay people’s fears.

“Even the rhetoric around ‘illegal people’, or ‘illegal asylum seekers’ or ‘illegal refugees’, that’s the language that is coming from Helen McEntee, that is very misleading language, it’s very dangerous and inflammatory language.

“And when you use that language and that’s being broadcast on mainstream media, well then you’re playing into ignorance and you’re playing into fear, and you are recycling the far-right rhetoric.”

Press Association