Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is “concerned” by some of the language used by those in East Wall, Dublin who have been protesting the decision to house asylum seekers in the area.
Residents claim they are upset about the lack of consultation and there have been two protests in the last few days.
At times, some of the language used by protestors has been inflammatory; one individual said that “the North Inner City’s been destroyed by foreigners” and chants of “get them out” were heard.
Mr Donohoe represents the area in Dáil Éireann and said he planned on engaging with members of the community.
“I am really, really concerned about some of the language that I have heard,” he told The Hard Shoulder.
“Before I describe it as racist - because that’s a very strong term to use - I’m going to engage directly with the groups and residents that have been involved in this because it’s in my constituency.
“The people of East Wall that I’ve had the great privilege of representing now for my third term in the Dáil are enormously decent and an amazingly strong and welcoming community.
“And genuine concerns are being raised by many residents there, regarding the location of this facility and I’m going to engage with those genuine concerns.”
During the protest there were chants of “get them out”, including some children chanting this.
While another guy shouts “all politicians should be hung”.
While some locals have concerns, there was definitely a nasty streak to this protest. pic.twitter.com/ZoekrfQIvP
— Barry Whyte (@BarryWhyte85) November 21, 2022
On the question of whether it is racist to say that “the North Inner City has been destroyed by foreigners”, Mr Donohue replied:
“I don’t believe it has been destroyed by foreigners and I believe we have a very rich and multicultural and very strong local community within the North Inner City and I completely reject that kind of language.
“But what I’m going to continue to do is engage with residents and groups who are raising some of these matters but I’m really clear that some of the language that has been used and some of the approaches that have been taken I do disagree with and it’s not language that I would use and not language I believe many would use.”
He said that local residents were concerned about, “The scale of the facility that is there, the safety of people who could be located in it and what the long-term use will be of a building.”
However, he also defended the Government’s record on migration and the decision to welcome Ukrainians fleeing conflict.
“Ireland does have to play its part in looking at how we look after people who come to our country as a result of that,” he said.
“I’ll be making the case for my community, the communities I represent, playing our part in that response and then issues that are being raised by communities that relate to how we will engage with those facilities, I’ve a duty to engage with and I will.”
Main image: Paschal Donohoe. Picture by: Julien Behal.