TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that scenes of some protests in recent weeks “aren’t acceptable” and “is not the Irish way”.
Speaking to reporters outside Government Buildings today, Varadkar said he is “very concerned” about the rise of the far-right and the rise of racism in Ireland.
“Refugees are welcome here. It’s important that we have robust systems in place to make sure that we welcome those who are genuinely fleeing war and oppression, and return those who are not. I want people to be assured that that is what we will do,” he said.
The Taoiseach went on to condemn some of the demonstrations that have taken place in recent days:
“Irish people understand migration, all of our families have been shaped by it. And we’ve been welcomed all around the world. And in some parts of the world, we’ve been mistreated. As a country, we should know better.
“The scenes that we’ve seen in recent days, in recent weeks, really must be condemned. It’s not the Irish way of doing things. It’s not in accordance with our history and culture.”
He said many of the protests are taking place outside buildings which are housing vulnerable people and children.
Where there has been has been violence or any breach of the law, the gardaí will deal with it, he added.
“We want to make sure that protests don’t occur outside people’s homes. There are places where people can protest,” said Varadkar.
His comments come as Minister of State for Integration Joe O’Brien said the State is currently facing a “pinch-point” over the lack of accommodation and that all Government departments need to work together to provide support.
On the issue of protests, O’Brien said that there needed to be a distinction between people who have “legitimate questions” and those who are “engaging in intimidatory tactics”.
He said that he was worried about the situation but that Gardaí were currently monitoring the situation and they had taken actions in recent days.
However, he did say that the majority understood that Ireland has international obligations to people seeking asylum.
Concerns about protests was also raised at the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting last night, with members also raising concerns about the system’s ability to cope.
Sources state that there was no mention of a cap on the number of refugees coming into the country, with concerns instead centering around misinformation being spread in their areas, but also the lack of communication from the Department of Integration.
The issue of pressure on resources within some communities, such as schools and GP services, was also highlighted, with some politicians critical of the department’s handling of the crisis.
Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon has called for a cross-party committee to deal with integration and misinformation. “We can’t keep acting like we’re surprised by the nature of these protests,” he said, stating that it is about getting out in front of the issues.