People Before Profit Mayo Statement
Yesterday evening Wednesday 23rd October, People Before Profit Mayo attended what was a packed public meeting in Ted’s Bar in Achill of over 200 very angry and worried local people. The reason for the meeting was the DELETE revelation yesterday that there is to be an emergency accommodation centre opened tomorrow Thursday 24th in the Achill Head Hotel.
There was zero consultation with the local community about this planned centre for asylum seekers from the Department of Justice, the Fine Gael Minister of State David Stanton, the Reception and Integration Agency or any other politician from either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.
The Fine Gael Minister Michael Ring claims he knew nothing about this even though he sits at the same cabinet table as David Stanton!
There were a minority of nasty far right elements among the local people trying to whip up anti refugee racist hatred.DELETE
There were a small number of locals who did indeed voice racist sentiments but the vast majority were trying to direct their anger and fear at the DELETE situation created by the Fine Gael Government and the Dept. of Justice in particular. Some locals are willing to accept racist arguments and DELETE ideas need to be challenged.
People Before Profit Spokesperson Joe Daly along with other left progressives like Saoirse McHugh appealed for the need to direct anger where it belongs and not at the powerless victims of the rotten direct provision system.
The general consensus of the meeting was that people were not opposed to immigrants or refugees coming into their communities provided they were properly supported and with the services required to integrate them into the local community. Some even suggested using the many empty homes lying idle around the island.
Many local people spoke about the neglect and decline of Achill Island for decades, due to the savage austerity cuts and deep anger and frustration at being abandoned. DELETE
People Before Profit Mayo condemns the way the Government is implementing its Direct Provision strategy repeatedly situating the centres in small, under resourced rural communities without proper consultation. Instead of direct provision centres, asylum seekers should be given a right to work and allowed to live where they want..
There are over 15,000 empty dwellings in Mayo according to the Census 2016 and these should be opened up to refugees, homeless and people on social housing waiting lists via a large scale compulsory acquisition and refurbishment programme. This would also provide many jobs in rural areas.
We believe the best way to oppose the decimation of rural Ireland and end the inhumane direct provision system is to build people powered campaigns against the system which inflicts brutal austerity on rural communities just as it creates the wars and poverty which these refugees are fleeing from.
We urge the people of Achill not to be led by racist lies and sentiment to divide their community or undermine their compassion for those seeking asylum. Working people should not divert anger onto fellow workers, who as builders, doctors and nurses would be part of the solution if we welcome them and allow them to contribute to our society.
The only way to fight for a better future for rural Ireland is to unite against austerity, drive out the racists and far right and campaign to replace Direct Provision with a system that gives asylum seekers a right to work.,