Thomas Brooke, Remix, November 28, 2023
Residents of villages in Ireland have resorted to establishing barricades and road checkpoints around their communities to prevent the government from relocating asylum seekers to the area.
Locals of Dromahair in County Leitrim took the drastic measure to cordon off the village on Friday amid rumors the Department of Integration was planning to bus in dozens of foreign nationals without prior agreement by community leaders.
According to the Irish Examiner, three checkpoints were erected on roads around the village and members of the Dromahair Concerned Residents Association manned the roadblocks and checked cars as they sought to enter the area.
Protesters have expressed their discontent in recent days at the possibility of new arrivals to the town, citing security and the saturation of public services as their primary concerns.
The Irish government did not attempt to relocate the migrants on Friday and the citizens’ association in the village confirmed on Monday they had received written confirmation from Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman that no new arrivals would descend on the town without sufficient engagement among the local residents.
The letter sent to the organization followed what the Department of Integration called a “positive” meeting on Sunday with local MPs Frank Feighan, Martin Kenny, and Marian Harkin.
The government plans to repurpose the Abbey Manor Hotel in the village to house dozens of asylum seekers but is facing fierce resistance as has also been seen in several other towns and villages across the country.
“If a contract is agreed, it is hoped that this property can be brought into use. Capacity and configuration will not be agreed until negotiations reach the final stage, however, it is anticipated that the capacity will be circa 155 persons,” a government spokesperson said previously.
Similar scenes have been witnessed in Rosslare Harbour where the government is attempting to scrap the planned renovation of a derelict hotel into a nursing home and cater for hundreds of “male adult” migrants in a village that has already taken its fair share of refugees.
“Between the amount of refugees that we have currently in Rosslare Harbour and what’s planned for the Great Southern site, it will mean that this village will have taken in over 700 refugees. That will add about a third to the indigenous, settled population, with no additional services or provisions made,” local councilor Ger Carthy said earlier this month.