Ireland facing tensions over influx of immigrants

May 12, 2024 by No Comments

The Irish government’s firm commitment to housing and feeding an unprecedented influx of migrants amidst a severe housing and cost of living crisis has enraged the Irish public. There are similarities to the migrant crisis in the U.S. Hundreds of protests in towns have sprung up nationwide with people calling on the government to end what they say is an “open borders” globalist agenda that prioritizes the needs of migrants over its citizens — many of whom struggle to pay for everyday items and are unable to buy or rent homes as Ireland’s homeless numbers skyrocket. Several high-profile crimes linked to migrants have also sowed fear into the native populace, culminating in the shocking knife attacks on young children and their teacher by an Algerian-born Irish citizen in November that triggered rioting and looting in the nation’s capital.Those who want enforced and numbers reduced say they are being ignored by the political establishment.”Ireland is a tinderbox at the moment,” Irish journalist Fatima Gunning told Digital. “At this point, I don’t think anything would surprise me.”On Monday, thousands of protesters carrying Irish flags rallied in Dublin calling for an end to mass migration and demanding that a new nationalist government take its place.Chants of “get them out” in reference to the government, echoed throughout the nation’s capital while others carried signs reading “Irish lives matter” and “under siege, invasion.” Large banners reading “mass deportations” and “end the plantation” hung from a bridge. The protesters say they represent the silent majority of the electorate – around 75% based on several polls – who say immigration is too high and that the country has taken in too many refugees.Their anger is also being fueled by how they are being treated by the mainstream media, which is dominated by liberal news outlets as well as the semi-state-run broadcaster RTE, who seldom cover protests or do so with bias, they say. Think of an America without . For example, last Monday’s march was described as a “large crowd” by RTE and afforded just six lines of coverage on its website. Gript, a relative newcomer to the media scene, has been filling the void and has covered many anti-mass immigration protests.”For the past two years, they’ve been calling people like that ‘racist’ or ‘far-right extremists,’” Gunning says. “Politicians and the mainstream media, official Ireland, that of strata of society say immigration is just totally positive. There’s no negatives whatsoever and then anyone who even says something like, Oh, ‘I do agree with immigration but I think there should be controls on the numbers,’ is a racist, that’s how it is.”Immigration into Ireland has more than doubled over the last 20 years with 22% of the population now made up of non-citizens, meaning Ireland has the fourth largest non-national population of all 27 EU member states percentage-wise, according to published . The steady increase in migration first started with the free movement of people agreement under the EU’s Nice Treaty in 2003. It posed little problems as mainly eastern Europeans traveled to Ireland to work in the Celtic Tiger economic boom era.But in recent years, droves of high numbers of asylum seekers have been arriving at Ireland’s shores and are being handed all sorts of taxpayer-funded welfare benefits and housing, while Irish citizens struggle to make ends meet with high inflation, a crippling housing crisis and an overwhelmed health system. For instance, Ireland has taken in more than 104,000 Ukrainian refugees since the onset of the war, the largest number per capita in Western Europe despite Ireland being the most westerly located nation in the whole of Europe. The figure equates to 2% of Ireland’s 5.12 million population and every Ukrainian refugee has been provided with free accommodation, free health care and, until recently, was being paid a weekly wage of around $235.Another 30,000 non-Ukrainian refugees are currently being housed by the Irish government with taxpayers churning out more than €1 billion in the first nine months of 2023 accommodating migrants, according to government data. Meanwhile, the country’s debt is among the per capita, standing at €223 billion in 2023.Accommodations, including modular homes, have been built for migrants but very little, if anything, they say, is being done for the homeless population, which hit an all-time record last month. Planning rules to build some of these homes have been ignored in order to get the refugees housed at rapid speed. “There’s a really palpable feeling that these non-national people are being prioritized over Irish people, which they are,” Gunning says. “I mean, it’s not even a matter of opinion that they are. There are Irish people who cannot get medical cards (health benefits) for whatever reason. These people are all given medical cards regardless of need and that’s obviously a priority [of government].”And it’s not just the perceived unfairness that has angered Irish people. Just like in the U.S., Irish people feel that many of those seeking asylum have dubious claims and are essentially economic migrants who are draining taxpayer coffers.In terms of those making asylum seeker claims Georgian nationals have had the highest numbers of claims despite it being designated a “safe country of origin” by the Irish government. Asylum seekers have also been arriving from Nigeria, where 2,000 have arrived already this year, as well as Algeria, Somalia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. Countries that don’t share customs or traditions with Ireland.Serious concerns have also been raised about a large percentage of those asylum seekers being single men, that background checks have not been carried out on them and that they are loitering around towns and cities with nothing to do. “Some people get very upset when they hear it’s just men because there’s leaking footage from City West [hotel] in Dublin… of them just rioting inside the place. And, you know, last year it kicked off, around Ramadan, they were just rioting and throwing chairs at each other,” Gunning says.”So people feel frightened about that because ultimately these people are unvetted. You’ll hear that they are vetted, they’re not. Their fingerprints are run through this thing called Eurodac, which is not a criminal vetting system, it’s just to see if they have made other asylum claims elsewhere or if they have been caught doing illegal border crossings. It doesn’t have any criminal data to it at all.””So the government consistently uses that to say that they’re vetted when in fact they’re not.”Gunning, who reports for, was at the scene of an ugly encounter two weeks ago when Irish police in riot gear clashed with locals of a small town who were protesting against plans to convert a shuttered care facility into a shelter for 160 male migrants.The town, Newtownmounkennedy, is a typical rural community with a population of about 3,000 and is starved of services. Gunning says locals told her that the government promised them that the facility would be used as a much-needed community center for the town, while they were also concerned that the men are unvetted. Gunning says locals were also incensed that foreign men in masks were seen working on the site, leading to comparisons to the plantations of Ireland in the 1500s and 1600s when the British confiscated Irish-owned land and gave it to settlers. Hence, the “end the plantation” banner at the protest in Dublin on Monday.After weeks of peacefully protesting and pleading with the government to reconsider, the riot police were deployed in Newtownmounkennedy to stamp out the demonstration. But the forcefulness of the response sent shockwaves through the community, which rallied in even bigger numbers in the days that followed.In the end, it was all in vain as the first wave of migrants began arriving at the site around the same time as a migrant “tent city” of about 200 tents in nearby Dublin was being dismantled by the government. The tents were set up outside the country’s International Protections Office, which processes claims, and for many Irish people the tents became a visual example of the government’s handling of the crisis. Many of the migrants have now set up their tents along Dublin’s Grand Canal.The situation at Newtownmounkennedy has been happening throughout Ireland and the locals, despite their protests, say they have no say in the matter. In some towns, local hotels have all been converted into migrant shelters, decimating tourist industries. Meanwhile, and just like in the U.S., some hoteliers and construction companies are profiting as government contracts ensure a steady stream of income amidst the crisis.