Is it racist to want housing to go to Irish people first?
A Kerry councillor has protested against the proposed housing of refugees in a former Killarney guesthouse.
Linden House in Killarney is set to become an accommodation centre for 55 people currently in the asylum and refugee process.
The Department of Justice confirmed that the first few people seeking international protection will arrive before Christmas.
However, a number of protesters gathered outside Linden House today, before handing in a petition.
The protest was led by local Councillor Donal Grady who argued that the council needs to “see after our own” before accommodating the refugees.
Speaking to Radio Kerry, Cllr Grady said the needs of those on the housing list in the local community needs to be met first.
He said “We have 1,600 on our housing list in the Killarney area and it’s time we started seeing after our own.
“I’m not saying that these people haven’t gone through bad times. Of course, I’m sure they have.
“But you should see what some of our people are going through.
“I’m very concerned about the way things are going and it’s time to say ‘listen, we must see after our own’ because they are not fixing that.”
In a petition handed to Linden House, Cllr Grady said he wanted to make it clear that the community believes that “people from war torn areas like Iraq and Syria should be accepted in our country”.
But he said the community is concerned that the council did not consult with them before making the decision.
He also expressed concerns over the lack of transparency around the vetting process.
Cllr Grady argued that local families are being housed in Tralee and have to travel to Killarney daily in order to take their children to school.
He wrote “It is our wish that these [of] our own community should be looked after first. Then and only then we would be in a position to support the nationwide position of housing refugees,”
The letter was signed by members of the local community.
In an agreement with the EU, Ireland has said that it will accept an additional 330 refugees next year as part of its response to the migration crisis facing people fleeing war-zones in Syria, Yemen and some other states.
Under the EU re-location programme refugees will also continue to be housed in existing centres in Waterford, Roscommon, Kildare and Meath.
Tonight I want to know what you think of this protest that took place over the weekend.
Do you agree with it? Or do you think anyone who protests against refugees getting homes in Ireland is racist?
I want to know what you think –
So – is it racist to want housing to go to Irish people first?
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