Protests over an asylum seeker centre at East Wall in Dublin have been suspended, according to a local councillor.
A series of demonstrations have been held in the area against the use of the former ESB office building as an emergency accommodation centre.
The former office building is being used to house up to 380 men, women and children who arrived in Ireland seeking international protection.
Locals have complained that there was no consultation before the decision to use the building was made; however, concerns have been raised about the involvement of “far right” groups in the protests.
In a statement last night, Cllr Ring said this evening’s protest had been cancelled with the Minister for Integration due to meet with residents on Friday to discuss their concerns.
“Right from the start of this PR disaster for the Government, the residents of the area just wanted communication, contact and conversation to get answers to their legitimate questions and address their concerns,” he said.
Cllr Ring said residents’ representatives would be asking the minister for more details about the people being housed in the building – including where they are from, how long they will remain there and whether the building is fit for purpose.
He said the protesters also wanted to know whether the asylum seekers had been ‘Garda vetted’.
In Ireland, Garda vetting is reserved for people who work with children and vulnerable adults – it is not something anyone who arrives in the country is faced with.
Cllr Ring suggested the protesters were also interested in finding out whether the building has a valid change of planning permission and appropriate fire cert.
“These questions could have been addressed much earlier and prevented all the rumours, misinformation and idle speculation, but at least now answers will be forthcoming,” he said.
“The community in East Wall is pleased there is progress on this and the last thing they wanted was to be lumped in with some of the groups who attended the protests with their own sinister, bigoted and racist agendas.”
On The Hard Shoulder yesterday, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said he was “concerned” by some of the language used by protesters at East Wall – but wanted to engage with them before labelling it racist.
On Newstalk Breakfast meanwhile, the co-founder of the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, Lucky Khambule said the protests were intimidating people who did not arrive in Ireland by choice.
In a statement, the Department of Integration said the building would house families and single people on separate access-controlled floors.
It said the residents would be housed over five floors in twin or family bedrooms.
It said officials would continue to engage with and provide information to local representatives and would be “providing more information directly to the community in the coming days”.
“Unfortunately, the sheer scale of the present crisis inevitably means buildings repurposed for the temporary, emergency accommodation of those seeking refuge must be occupied on a faster timeline than would otherwise be the case,” it said.
“Irish people have shown remarkable solidarity and welcome for those who come here seeking refuge, and the department is keen to foster positive linkages with the local community for the new centre in East Wall and in all other locations throughout the country.”
Over 14,000 people have arrived in Ireland seeking international protection in the last year.
That is in addition to the more than 60,000 Ukrainians who have arrived here fleeing the war.