Update: Clashes at anti-racism rally in Rooskey

Update: Clashes at anti-racism rally in Rooskey
People take part in an anti-racism rally titled 'Love Rooskey: No to Racism: Asylum Seekers Welcome', in Rooskey. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Update: There have been angry clashes at a 'No to Racism: Asylum Seekers Welcome' rally in Rooskey, in Co Roscommon this afternoon.

The event was organised in response to recent fires at a hotel in the village earmarked for asylum seekers.

Videos online show demonstrators and the public having heated engagements.

As the rally started this afternoon, there were verbal confrontations between residents and those attending the rally.

One resident said she was upset at the anti-racism protest taking place in the town, and said the residents were "absolutely not" racist.

She told media there are no services in the town to support asylum seekers.

"Since the factory burned down there is nothing in Rooskey, there is no bus service, no GP, they are ran off their feet, there are no services for asylum seekers to be put here in Rooskey," she said.

"We are not racist, absolutely not. We have welcomed everyone, we have been doing it all my life.

"I am really upset about this."

Earlier: Rooskey to hold 'No to Racism' rally to tell asylum seekers they are welcome in area

A 'No to Racism' rally is being held in Rooskey today.

The organisers say counties Leitrim and Roscommon are full of people who are warm and welcoming, and they are appalled by the recent fires which have delayed the development of a Direct Provision centre at a hotel in the village.

Spokesperson Eamonn Crudden said they want asylum seekers to know that refugees are welcome.

Mr Crudden said: "There is going to be speakers, music and we're hoping to have a picnic because it's a pretty depressing series of events, we don't want our event to be a depressing event. It's aimed at letting asylum seekers know that the people who are there will welcome them into the area.

Shannon Key West hotel following the fire last month.
Shannon Key West hotel following the fire last month.

"We know that the Direct Provision system is not a good system, but we will do our best to support them."

"Because it's been in the news now for the past couple of months, people are going to have an association in their mind, Rooskey and arson attacks on Direct Provision centre, we don't want that to be the thing that stays in people's minds about this area.

"There are an enormous amount of very, very decent people who are absolutely horrified by these attacks.

The rally has got broad support from councillors and TDs.

Minister Charlie Flanagan has thanked the campaigners for their efforts aimed at “creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for asylum seekers.” and has said: “I wish the event every success”.

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, who is to attend the rally, said: “Sunday’s rally in Rooskey is a good opportunity for the people of the surrounding area to put down a marker that there is no room for equivocation when it comes to racism.

"It should be seen as an opportunity for people to give their views. The rally is anything but an attempt to tar people of the area with the racism brush.”

Singer Christy Moore sent a message of support yesterday saying he “fully supports this Sunday’s ‘Love Rooskey No to Racism’ Rally. “

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