Ugly scenes as immigration crisis deepens
Ugly scenes as immigration crisis deepens


Terrified asylum seekers, mostly women and children, were forced to run a gauntlet through an anti-immigrant protest in County Tipperary this week.

The shocking development came as right-wing extremists are being blamed for arson attacks on properties rumoured to be hosting refugees. Several locations have been torched in the past month, including a Georgian mansion in Rosscahill in County Galway.

The mounting crisis over record immigration in Ireland has been increasingly exploited by foreign and home-grown provocateurs to promote their new political organisations.

On Monday, clashes broke out at the Racket Hall Hotel in Roscrea as protesters tried to block a bus carrying 17 asylum-seekers. The decision to move the group into the property had sparked a five-day blockade outside the property, which had been functioning as a hotel until last week.

An erratic Garda attempt to shepherd the refugees into the building brought scenes which recalled for some the infamous loyalist ‘corridor of hate’ at Holy Cross Catholic school in north Belfast in 2001.

The terror in the eyes of the children offered confirmation that the coalition government has lost control of its policy on refugees. It is only in recent months that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar accepted he was mistaken in offering non-existent accommodation for an unlimited number of arrivals. His realisation came too late for both the asylum seekers and the deprived rural and inner city communities who are being forced to host them in an irregular and often chaotic manner.

The events have been polarising for the main Irish political parties, with some Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael politicians refusing to condemn increasingly violent protests. Mayo County Council, following a protest over a move to house refugees in the village of Ballinrobe, unanimously passed a motion calling on council staff to cease co-operation with the Dublin government on the issue. The council is dominated by the two main government parties.

Speaking about events in Roscrea, Varadkar said people “have their right to hold views that other people may find objectionable” but that the protests were “against the spirit and the values of our nation”.

A number of Roscrea locals have now left toys outside the Racket Hall Hotel in a move to reassure the families housed there that the protest was not about them but was instead aimed at the government’s approach.

Tipperary Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne has accused the government of failing the people of Roscrea. He said it was a “welcoming” town but that health care and education services should be in place and the community should know about such plans in advance.

Local independent county councillor Seamie Morris, formerly of Sinn Féin, said he planned to urge Tipperary County Council to follow Mayo’s lead and stop communicating with the government’s ‘Department of Integration’.

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