Public event to be held in Leitrim to say asylum-seekers are welcome

Public event to be held in Leitrim to say asylum-seekers are welcome
There had been local opposition to the centre

A public event is taking place tonight to say asylum-seekers are welcome in Co Leitrim.

The Department of Justice has 'paused' plans to house 130 people in a direct provision centre in Ballinamore after local opposition.

But another group has been established to welcome asylum-seekers to the town and they are holding a meeting in Ballinamore tonight.

The event is designed to extend a 'warm message of welcome' to the asylum-seekers if and when they arrive.

Organiser Caroline Dempsey said she was concerned about the level of opposition to the plans.

She said: "It was giving out a very negative image."

Ms Dempsey said last week that she stepped forward after local TD Martin Kenny’s car was set alight in an apparent arson attack.

“I think that was a catalyst and I just wanted to show that there is an alternative voice in Ballinamore and it is becoming more mainstream."

Mr Kenny car was burned out at his home in Aughavas, near Ballinamore in Co Leitrim in October.

He had also received a death threat after speaking out against a “far-right ideology that is being peddled in this country” about asylum seekers.

Plans for the direct provision centre were paused following a meeting with Immigration Minister David Stanton.

The Minister and the local community issued a statement last week saying: "The meeting was constructive and open, the group has articulated the community’s support for asylum seekers and to finding an appropriate accommodation solution in their town, and the Minister thanked the community representatives for their continued engagement.

"The Minister, his officials and the community group have agreed to meet again in the coming days to continue these discussions."

Last week, Leo Varadkar said the Direct Provision system for asylum seekers is an imperfect system – but not inhumane.

The Taoiseach said more consultation needs to be carried out with communities following protests in Ballinamore in Co Leitrim and Achill Island – where two accommodation centres for asylum seekers were set to open.

Speaking at an Immigrant Council of Ireland conference in Dublin on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar said immigration brings challenges, but the benefits outweigh them many times over.

More on this topic

Asylum seeker housing situation ‘perilous’; 39 direct provision centres fullAsylum seeker housing situation ‘perilous’; 39 direct provision centres full

Victoria White: Justice minister must build a Road to Damascus for us on immigrationVictoria White: Justice minister must build a Road to Damascus for us on immigration

Almost 800 people who have been granted asylum stuck in direct provisionAlmost 800 people who have been granted asylum stuck in direct provision

35% of TDs believe Direct Provision is inhumane - survey35% of TDs believe Direct Provision is inhumane - survey


More in this Section

Barnardos: Over 500 families waiting for our helpBarnardos: Over 500 families waiting for our help

Two men charged in relation to loaded firearm seizureTwo men charged in relation to loaded firearm seizure

CervicalCheck refuses to show staff turnoverCervicalCheck refuses to show staff turnover

Eight migrants found on ship in Waterford deported from IrelandEight migrants found on ship in Waterford deported from Ireland


Lifestyle

It’s not what you have that makes you happy, it’s what you do. And what better time to be proactive than during the season of goodwill, says Margaret Jennings.Joy to the world: Strategies to increase your happiness during the season of goodwill

For a magical mantelpiece makeover the natural way, foliage and garlands add showstopping sparkle to the scene, says Hannah Stephenson.Bring Christmas cheer indoors: Foliage and garlands add showstopping sparkle

More From The Irish Examiner