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Protests February 1, 2023

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

Out leafleting recently with the leaflet posted on the Cedar Lounge recently, including to the apartments where the refugee centre has been put in. The apartments are on a single complex with commercial and residential buildings and little or no separation between the two. 

Difficult not to be angry at the way the residents of that complex were treated there with no consultation on the change of use of the commercial buildings, which may be used by the state for years to come. It has been left to local representatives, elected and otherwise, to try to deal with the concerns of those residents. And it has been condescending and disdainful of the state to effectively ignore those concerns or pretend they don’t exist. That’s just a lack of responsibility on the part of the state. 

Difficult not to be angry at the abuse the refugees have been subjected to this last few months from a small group, some of whom come from outside the community, some from inside. This situation isn’t of their making and they bear no responsibility for it. The fact the abuse is intermittent is no consolation. But with discussions with statutory or other authorities ruled out by the protestors there’s no prospect of that having any impact. The government isn’t going to pull back from this site since to do so would mean it couldn’t maintain such centres anywhere. 

The result is a vacuum where the protests continue because, for some behind them, there’s no real wish for a solution and the refugees are subjected to abuse due to that.   

The damage this has inflicted on communities is beyond calculation. One can rightly point to exaggerated fears, but those fears have a power and a reach and fundamental to dispelling them is an engagement that has simply not been sen by the state. Many of us will have seen activists of long-standing in various communities subject to dogs’ abuse for simply trying to get communities to get involved more usefully on these issues. But again – why was this left to them? 

That there’s now a pattern of events emerging rapidly is all too obvious. There’s attacks on homeless workers which are the product of pure xenophobia. Then there’s protests and threats made against politicians local and national who dare to push back even mildly against the rhetoric of those protesting against the refugees.   There’s political meetings that have been disrupted.       There’s suspected arson at sites which some on social media have claimed will be used for refugees.  

Impossible to dismiss the following as hyperbole. 

Politicians have raised fears that the “very dangerous” anti-refugee sentiment being whipped up by far-right elements will lead to people being seriously hurt or killed.

The Government has been urged to do more to tackle the problem, including setting up a body similar to the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), which was in place during the Covid-19 pandemic, to co-ordinate the response to the refugee crisis.

That thought has struck that sentiments are running so high, so uncontrolled, that sooner rather than later something even more appalling than the events listed above is going to happen. It’s been remarkable to see after two months of this how slowly the reality of what has been taking place has impacted upon the media commentariat, or worse – how some in it have been arguing some tired lines about the need to tighten up the immigration system when at this point we are way beyond that. Only a week or two ago, despite all else, this was largely ignored by that commentariat.

Remarkable too to see how ill prepared the state was and how neglectful in terms of preparing well in advance before this situation reached this point.

Communication at a minimum might have taken the heat out of this. But it has required more, much more. And it continues to do so.


1. irishelectionliterature - February 1, 2023

It was March last year when I started volunteering in Citywest. IPAS (part of the Dept of Children) were spending 24 hours a day trying to find accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.

Initially, it wasn’t too bad. There was a short turnaround before accommodation was found. Gradually it became far more difficult to find accommodation. All the while the whole responsibility was on the Dept of Children. No coherent state response at all. No forward planning at all done. Everyone involved just chasing their tails, trying to find hotels, hostels, etc. No plans to refurbish old empty army barracks, etc, just find anywhere any place for people. The vast increase in the number of asylum seekers coming wasn’t catered for.

All the while the authorities had a hands off approach to a Far Right emboldened by being given free rein during Covid.

As you say, given the rhetoric from some of the Far Right elements, it’s sadly only a matter of time before there is a tragedy of some form.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2023

Outrageous that all that was placed on the Dept of Children. It should have been a systemic response across many months. And the upshot is a large of very vulnerable people have been made more vulnerable again.

I see in todays paper there’s talk about funding for communities with centres – that feels condescending too and not sure of impact. You’re spot on too – the far right was given a very hands off approach by the state during Covid.

Liked by 1 person

terrymdunne - February 1, 2023

Is it ill-prepared & neglectful or is it optimum outcomes? – not only politically, but isn’t housing refugees a business see also private health care, nursing homes, housing everyone else etc….


irishelectionliterature - February 1, 2023

It’s typical of the State, sticking plaster after sticking plaster but no actual real solution put in place. There’s no conspiracy about it being a business, just ineptitude.

Liked by 1 person

alanmyler - February 1, 2023

It’s not just ineptitude though, is it, it’s a structural issue in that the neo-liberal state has been hollowed-out over time.

Okay, you could argue that strictly speaking the Irish state has always been hollow, in that it was formed and managed since the start by a Christian Democratic ethos and never had the bulking-out of state service provision that is common throughout the western European states which have a Social Democratic past. It’s the relying on the community and charity voluntary sector for service provision, funded in part by the state, so that the state sees itself as being only an enabler, not a provider. Information rather than action.

Governance rather than government via feet on the ground. So that when an actual crisis happens there’s actually no pre-existing capacity in the system to cope with the actual work required.

Liked by 4 people

WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2023

Perhaps it’s worth disentangling this a bit because you raise an excellent point.

The ineptitude is largely in the fact that there’s been time for the state in the immediate to shape a response to crises across the past twelve months. No one can doubt that there’s been a very large movement into the state on foot of Ukraine that has been accommodated reasonably, albeit far from perfectly. But the issue of refugees and asylum seekers has not been addressed at all so well given the first cohort were having to be accommodated. As you say, beyond that there’s a history of a state that long before neoliberalism was patchy at best and dismal at worst (there’s the thought that in some ways this is currently the best equipped the state has been ever which is terrifying).

And between those two is the reality that the state largely turned away from responsibility in housing between the end of the big 1960s developments until now leaving a half century of underinvestment or no investment and consequent lack of housing resources for crises like the present. So the ineptitude is contemporary, the systemic you rightly point to is contemporary but stretching back decades and in some ways built into the very DNA of the state from the off.

Liked by 3 people

2. sonofstan - February 1, 2023

I was back for a few days last week and heard some disturbing stories about the abuse immigrants of all kinds are getting well away from the targeted protests. From the outside, it looks as if the response from elected reps, with honourable and predictable exceptions, has been poor.


WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2023

That’s very true about this spreading further. Completely toxic.

I think it’s important to keep in mind a lot is going on that isn’t being publicised at the level of reps and activists due to concerns at inflaming the situation or generating yet deeper divisions. I know of reps who are trying to mediate or calm fears etc and I wouldn’t say their names because the situation on social media is so problematic that it would feed back in in a counterproductive way.

The thing is that blanket statements about this have to be phrased very carefully because we are some way beyond a point where the far right can be isolated and marginalised given the fears in communities that they’ve generated and played on. Those fears may be misplaced or inaccurate but as the guest post above says they are real and that’s a much bigger cohort than the far right so dealing with that who ultimately have to be engaged with.


sonofstan - February 1, 2023

Ok, you’re closer to it – I’m a tourist at ‘home’ these days. But I do think a few high profile callings out would help.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2023

I completely get where you are coming from and you raise a key point in my kind but I think at ground level we are way beyond shaming or shocking people into reconsidering their actions, if that was ever a possibility. They’re wedded to a community protection framing which btw seems to me to be very gendered in terms of who is holding these views and what they say.

There’s a further point that even to put it that way assumes there are voices of ‘authority’ or even just credible people who will ge listened to. But fwiw check out the responses to any push back by various figures, councillors, activists, local TDs, community or sports figures and it’s telling how entrenched it all is. Literally just down the road from me, they’ve been parading posters of MLM with the word traitor on them since the beginning of this in November. And that sentiment is creeping into the communities (not making a party political point just saying that politics and politicians aren’t trusted). Needless to say,the govt isn’t even in the picture. So at that point how does this work? Now there’s certainly scope at some point to call out some involved to a greater degree. And some inconsistencies in their track records etc would be no harm to be pointed up.

A broader pushback against xenophobia racism and so on is absolutely necessary. But all these though linked are different fronts as it were requiring different approaches at least as I see it. Local/community – distinction between locals involved and some others who are using it and their backgrounds – nationally in respect of lowering the gear in the dynamics you describe where people are coming under attack etc.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2023

My mind not kind.


Wes Ferry - February 5, 2023

Liked by 1 person

benmadigan - February 1, 2023

surely it’s a question of competing interests. The Irish homeless vs asylum seekers and vs the influx of Ukrainian refugees who were in the main accepted as long as they were women and children needing safety.
Add in the guilt-tripping “we Irish were refugees and other countries took us in” and it becomes very hard to find a rational solution, particularly given the current administration


sonofstan - February 1, 2023

Add in the guilt-tripping “we Irish were refugees and other countries took us in”

I hate that logic. It’s like the ‘as a father of a daughter, I’m a feminist’ thing – as if it would otherwise completely natural to be a misogynist: or a racist.

Liked by 2 people

Colm B - February 1, 2023

From a socialist point of view these aren’t competing interests, the only competing interests are those of the working class (regardless of their nationality, legal status, housing situation) and the capitalist class. I know this isn’t where you’re coming from but this can easily lead to “Ireland is full”, “we have to look after our own” etc.

The problem with housing in Ireland is not because there are too many people in the country or that asylum seekers are competing with natives orthat there’s an “influx” if Ukrainians but that successive governments won’t invest in social housing, won’t tax wealthy and corporations sufficiently to fund house building programme etc etc.

Liked by 2 people

benmadigan - February 2, 2023

I completely agree Colm that the Irish housing problem stems from lack of investment in social housing, vulture funds and insufficient taxation of the wealthy.
Had there been a proper housing programme we would not have had so many homeless and so many young families unable to get a decent house at a reasonable price or rent. Which would have dialled down resentment and dissatisfaction.
But even with that I doubt if the country could have coped with the recent influx of refugees without some social tensions


terrymdunne - February 4, 2023

Are there resources that would have otherwise been devoted to Irish people in housing need that are now going to refugees? Is there less emergency provision in hotels for Irish because the capacity has been absorbed by Ukrainians? Those are genuine, not rhetorical questions.

In any case, while this is not an argument I am unsympathetic to as a way of contextualising these issues (though wholeheartedly agreeing with Colm B’s point), I can recall similar analysis from Red Action and/or AFA (that said we shouldn’t discount racism plain and simple). The unvetted males, protection, etc, framing is straight out of the black muggers/Irish bombers playbook and relates surely to recent high profile acts of violence with migrants accused and to tropes deeply embedded in European culture regarding sexuality among our neighbours.

Also, these protests didn’t start in East Wall. They had an earlier life in, for instance, the Galway commuter belt, not known for its deprivation.

Liked by 2 people

Francis Donohoe - February 4, 2023

Few quick comments on the ‘happenings’ of late.

1) I am aware of one case of a traveller woman/children being denied emergency accommodation after returning from England (fleeing domestic abuse). This is in a rural county where all available council and charitable emergency accommodation is now housing Ukrainian families. This has contributed to a very tragic situation for this family. The lack of emergency accommodation for persons in extreme circumstances is a concern among social workers. Of course, these are two groups on the fringe now competing for what should not be a scare resource.

2) The policy of allowing hotels to decide to go for a steady stream of payment (Government funding for changing the use of hotel to an asylum seeker/Ukrainian accommodation) is being made purely on a commercial basis – it is taking no account of the amount of social resources available for the people housed or the downstream economic impact on tourist spend etc being denied other local businesses – this is causing increasing issues for communities and workforces in these hotels and discontent that can be exploited.

3) I attended a recent protest in Finglas (in order to get a ground level view of what was going on). No viable leadership, lot of weed being smoked, mixed crowd of settled and traveller people, many young bored people – several playing at being hard men but not going the whole hog, some mixed-race people also present, police doing a very good job keeping it clam enough while the public order unit being present in numbers a little distance away was a very real concern of those present. The removal of Carey from proceedings resulted in those on the mic being even more disordered and out there than even that little man. At one point some loopers talking freemen constitutional rubbish were shouted down by local women. Main impression, kind of water charges movement but this time no left to compete with the nutters and ideological far right to lead it. The dissonance was summed up for me by some persons singing along to some Wolfe Tones garbage being played then the crowd chanting along to some anti- Mary Lou, Ellis stuff. Bit of the Up the Hoods, Belfast mid 2000s anti-authority vibe about it. Basically, discontented people who need an outlet for their frustrations, and this is what is in for the moment.

To sum up, in my view we don’t have a fascist/far-right street movement as of yet, but if action not taken to ally some fair enough (if overblown) concerns about resource competition and the lack of any real long term immigration policy and some reengagement by left activists on these issues with the communities providing the protesters we may have one soon enough.

Liked by 1 person

Francis Donohoe - February 4, 2023

A final point – I see on electoral gain for FFG and the Greens (moral high horse riding types par excellence) in this debacle continuing so, unsurprisingly, expect nothing positive from that quarter.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - February 4, 2023

Very interesting overview FD, and thanks a million for that. You are absolutely correct I think in what you say in your last paragraph (in the main comment) in terms of observation and recommendations. Think you’re right too in your follow up comment.


terrymdunne - February 5, 2023

I don’t live in Dublin & I am not in the place very often so if anyone wants to say the left is dis-engaged in Finglas, or other localities I am not in a position to disagree, nor do I have any great desire to, but looking from the outside there is pleny of engagement with housing, eg there was a protest against evictions at the DCC offices only on Saturday – anyone had the option of going to that as opposed the anti-migrant march in Dublin city centre on the same day, what if housing or other resource issues are not the primary, or only, factor at play what about a racist moral panic – there is as much if not more rhetoric about protection, unvetted males and what not as there is about housing the Irish.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - February 5, 2023

Moral panic is what it is


Francis Donohoe - February 5, 2023

Both protests in town yesterday had small attendances – TBF I think the PBP one was specific to a one block of flats rather than a wider protest. The problem with the housing protests is I can not think of any real concrete gains from the now about 7 years of ‘campaigning’ – couple of eviction bans for periods aside. The trade union backed marches are verging on the performative (quite like the annual USI march where I remember being involved in thinking about what we were going to march about at the annual protest march). There is unease out there and it needs an outlet – a Government using immigration to virtual signal rather than as something which needs serious social and economic planning (and if done well could have serious benefits from what is also just a reality of our globalised world) is playing right into the hands of a grouping that has been unable to mobilise properly since the glory days of the pro-life movement. We’ll see where it goes but possibly having a viable far-right is just another staging post in Ireland become a very much mainstream European society – of course having viable leftwing government is part of that mainstreaming we would have most interest in.


3. tomasoflatharta - February 1, 2023
4. tomasoflatharta - February 1, 2023
5. Wes Ferry - February 5, 2023

Paytriot Games.

Liked by 1 person

6. tomasoflatharta - February 6, 2023
7. tomasoflatharta - February 6, 2023

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