While recent polls suggest a rise in anti-refugee sentiment among Irish people, some politicians argue the situation needs to be framed differently.
A similarly large majority (76%) said they appreciate the anger felt about asylum seekers being moved into local areas, and 56% of people said they do not want refugees to move to their area.
Social Democrat TD Jennifer Whitmore said the headline of the Business Post poll was “framed in a very particular way” to express anti-asylum seeker sentiments.
“The headline didn't appear to delve into the reasons why but actually, there was another question asked in that poll,” she told Newstalk Breakfast.
“It asked people whether they were happy about State failure to provide accommodation for asylum seekers who have arrived – 50% of people were not satisfied.”
Deputy Whitmore said this shows people are generally more concerned about the lack of accommodation available for Irish people and refugees alike.
“We have buildings all over this country that are State-owned, that the Government hasn't even started turning into accommodation,” she said.
The Government made plans to create a feasibility study for accommodation over nine months – but Deputy Whitmore could not understand why the Government is taking this long and not putting proper systems in place to help Irish people and asylum seekers.
“We all know how challenging this is, but there are a number of things that the Government committed to doing and haven’t.”
"They want to play their part"
Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe said the Government is “proud” of their response to the huge increase in refugees in Ireland – and the polls do not reflect any real prejudice.
He said people in local areas “want to play their part” with refugees – but it has been more difficult for the Government to communicate with residents recently.
“They were working in schools, fundraising and gathering clothes and food for refugees and now they're having meetings where they're asking you what's going on,” he said.
The TD for Clare said the agencies working with the Government were initially “well-coordinated” - but in recent weeks, the Government might find out about more refugees coming “overnight”.
“This proceeds to create a sour taste with communities out there,” he suggested.
Deputy Crowe said much of the confusion can be created by a lack of communication between agencies delivering refugees from Ukraine and agencies helping asylum seekers from countries outside of Europe.
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