The asylum seeker protests in East wall have become a “far-right rally”, local TD Gary Gannon has said.
Concerned residents said they were not consulted by the Government when it decided to use a former ESB office building to house asylum seekers.
Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman has met with the protestors but since ruled out rehousing the asylum seekers.
Last night, demonstrators blocked traffic from using the nearby Port Tunnel - necessitating the diversion of traffic.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Deputy Gannon said that his inbox suggests the protest “does not represent” the view of local residents.
“What started out last week as quite a large cohort of people in the North Inner City and East Wall discussing how they weren’t informed, how they didn’t feel consulted, has very quickly descended into what I will only describe now as a far-right rally,” he said.
During a protest last week, chants of “Get them out” were heard and one man shouted “Hang them”.
Deputy Gannon does not dispute that local residents are involved, but said he has witnessed outsiders joining the protest “to hijack” it.
“Just to give you an example of the type of thing that was discussed at this far-right rally in East Wall on Saturday,” he said.
“They went on to discuss EU flags - talking about how no flag other than the Irish flag should be flown in Ireland - including the Ukrainian flag.
“They were discussing the ‘superwoke’ from the stage, 5G was being brought in and the culture wars are being brought in, the Toy Show was being discussed from the stage.
"That’s not reflective of Irish society - despite the fact that a kid from East Wall was on the Toy Show.
“This issue definitely started off about the ESB building in East Wall but it got into something much more beyond that.”
Last week, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe - who is also a local TD - declined to call the protests “racist” but admitted he was “really concerned” by some of the language he had heard.
Deputy Gannon was far more blunt in his assessment of the situation.
“It’s been absolutely shocking; it’s been disgusting,” he said.
“I condemn lots of what’s been said from the stage in the absolute fullest and will not equivocate on that.
“I do believe that, certainly in the initial protest, people arrived there… out of frustration of feeling that they weren’t informed, that there was going to be an issue in regards to how the community would be resourced to accommodate such a large number of people coming into an area that was already coming under strain in the initial protest.
“What’s followed on from that, I condemn in the fullest and I do believe it’s racist.”
'Government didn't help'
Deputy Gannon added that to begin with many local residents had valid concerns - such as the lack of consultation and the standard of the accommodation in the former ESB building.
He also believes that the Government has handled the situation poorly.
“I think the Minister and the Government certainly didn’t help by bussing people in their International Protection System in towards the later part of the evening and not giving any information out.
“I think that could have been done infinitely better but what’s happening there now is not a reflection of the community in East Wall as a whole.”
Main image: Spilt screen of Gary Gannon and a protest in East Wall.