Lack of Consultation and Engagement with East Wall Community, by Government, Leading to Division - Aontú
Speaking today Aontú Dublin Central Representative Ian Noel Smith said:
"The government's handling of this situation has been absolutely atrocious. Minister O'Gorman is the Minister for Integration, yet the actions of his Department have caused absolute division in my constituency in recent days and weeks. Moving asylum seekers into an office block late in the evening without any consultation with the local community is a recipe for disaster. It is not fair on either the asylum seekers or the community".
"Consultation is a foundation stone of a democratic society. Communities have a right to have a say in what happens in their own community. We would expect to have consultation in terms of wind turbines, pylons, hotels, blocks of apartments etc. Consent is also an important element of consultation. Most communities want to do the right thing. Most communities want to be the Good Samaritan. To help communities we need to ensure that there is a community dividend when it comes to the locating of asylum seekers. Communities should know that there will be investment in housing, GP services, transport and schools, that they state will help alleviate any pressure there maybe on the community".
Ian Noel Smith continued: "The Department have confirmed to Aontú in recent weeks, following a Parliamentary Question, that as part of the government's white paper on ending Direct Provision they purchased 29 properties for use as reception/ accommodation centres for asylum seekers and refugees. All but one of these properties are currently vacant. Surely the government should be seeking to accommodate asylum seekers in these centres, rather than in humanely busing them around from one end of the country to the next?"
"I dont believe that the people of East Wall, Wicklow, north Kildare, Killarney, or Mayo are racist. But the manner in which communities are being treated may allow extremist groups from outside these areas to try and capitalize on the divisions that the government is creating. We have examples around the country of very smooth and healthy integration of refugees and asylum seekers and local communities. If this issue was handled properly by the government, with efforts made at integration from day one, we would not be in the place we are today",
"We need to have an open and respectful conversation about migration, both economic and refugee. We need to have a plan and the necessary resources made available to help communities. We also need to implement the law in terms of the small minority of people who are abusing our asylum laws by coming into the country after having destroyed their travel documents" concluded Ian Noel Smith.