TD warns of problems as town in Roscommon sees hate leaflets ahead of 80 refugees' arrival

An Independent TD for Roscommon has warned of major problems unless the Justice Department has a clear plan for the relocation of 80 refugees to the town of Ballaghadereen.

TD warns of problems as town in Roscommon sees hate leaflets ahead of 80 refugees' arrival

An Independent TD for Roscommon has warned of major problems unless the Justice Department has a clear plan for the relocation of 80 refugees to the town of Ballaghadereen.

It comes as anti-Islamic leaflets have been handed out in the town ahead of the arrival of some 80 Syrian refugees in the town this month.

The Department has decided to house the group, mostly from Syria and including around 40 children, in the restored Abbeyfield Hotel before the end of March.

Concerns have been raised about the level of services currently available in the town and the lack of consultation over the move.

Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice says the announcement came as a shock.

He said: "These people have endured a lot of suffering. There are mental health services, there are schools, there are so many different aspects.

"What I am saying at the moment, unless the proper services are put in place, that unfortunately it wouldn't be successful with the services that are there at the moment.

"There's noone saying they are not welcome, but if you put 200 to 250 people in on top of the services there at the moment, then let's be honest, they won't get the service that they deserve and that they are entitled to."

According to a report in The Western People, a group of four or five individuals, who are believed not to be from the north-west Co Roscommon town, handed out the literature in the town centre on Saturday.

The literature makes reference to terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Al Qaeda. It also urges the people of Ballaghaderreen to “preserve freedom in the West” by refusing Muslims entry into Ireland and to “crush them once and for all”.

The leaflets is also understood to carry images of rapes, beheadings, and crucifixions.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Michael Mulligan told The Western People he had been given one of the leaflets and was shocked by its contents.

“I have to condemn this outright,” said Mr Mulligan. “It is incitement to hatred. I have never seen anything as bad as this leaflet. The whole thing is just shocking.”

Some 200 refugees are to be housed in the former Abbeyfield Hotel on the outskirts of the town over the next two years.

Last week, it emerged that the owners of the Abbeyfield Hotel had signed a two-year agreement with the Department of Justice and Equality to house the refugees.

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