Leave refugees alone and focus anger on Government, say Sinn Féin 6 days ago

Leave refugees alone and focus anger on Government, say Sinn Féin

"They are not responsible for decades of Government neglect."

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has launched a defence for refugees in Ireland while arguing that people upset about the current crisis should focus their ire on the Government instead.

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Ó Broin was referring to scenes in East Wall in Dublin on Saturday where hundreds of protestors gathered to demonstrate against the housing of a number of asylum seekers in an old local ESB building in the area.

The protestors, many of whom were local residents, communicated their anger at not being consulted prior to the refugees being housed in the building.

A further protest took place in East Wall on Monday evening. Once again, several hundred people were reportedly in attendance. A spokesperson for a local resident's group insisted the demonstration isn't about race and is entirely down to a lack of consultation process being made available in advance.

In conversation on Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 on Tuesday (22 November), Ó Broin noted he has been "very closely" keeping an eye on the situation and that he believes the energy of the protestors has been misplaced.

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"I have a very similar facility in my own constituency of Clondalkin that was opened only a few weeks ago," he said.

"Look, the first thing is; there is an enormous amount of anger in the community in East Wall at decades of Government neglect – in terms of the housing crisis, in terms of economic opportunity, in terms of crime, and in terms of lack of consultation.

"But the refugees who are in the ESB building did not cause any of that crisis. They are not responsible for decades of Government neglect, and therefore protesting against refugees and asylum seekers is not the right approach. Should people be angry? Yes, they should."

Asked if those protesting against refugees and asylum seekers should take some time to think about their actions, Ó Broin responded:

"Absolutely, yes. Should people be protesting? Yes, they should. But they should be protesting against the Government. They should be protesting for a change of housing policy and for a Government that's going to take the interests of that community seriously.

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"And I would urge people not to vent their anger at people fleeing war and persecution, who are today in a very vulnerable position in very poor-quality accommodation in the ESB building," Ó Broin continued.

"If you are angry with the Government – and I'm very angry with them – get out and protest against Government policy, not against other vulnerable individuals. these are human beings at the end of the day, these are people who are seeking our protection. Let's support them, but let's also tackle the housing and homelessness crisis that's been caused by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael."

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Ó Broin's remarks come hot on the heels of a brand new Daft rental report; one that makes for especially grim reading.

According to the report, rental availability in Ireland is at an all-time low. Market rents in the third quarter of 2022 were an average of 14.1% higher than the same period a year earlier.

The average market rent nationwide between July and September was €1,688 per month, up 4.3% on the second quarter of the year and 120% above the low of €765 per month seen in late 2011.

It said that the annual inflation rate of 14.1% nationally is the highest ever recorded in the Daft.ie Report series since its launch in 2006, with the quarter-on-quarter increase also a new series high.

The website stated that this increase in market rents around the country has been driven by "extraordinary shortages" in the availability of rental accommodation.

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Featured Imagery via Leah Farrell / Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie