A Sinn Féin TD has received a death threat after speaking out against a “far-right ideology that is being peddled in this country” around asylum seekers.
It came as Tánaiste Simon Coveney has now warned all public representatives that they have an obligation to speak out against “hysterical language” being used to describe people seeking asylum in Ireland.
Shipping containers and lorries were described as the “coffin ships of the 21st century” in the Dáil yesterday, following the tragic death of 39 Chinese people in Essex.
“Unfortunately, some people in this country peddle far-right ideology and may be happy that 39 fewer immigrants will be coming to Ireland,” Martin Kenny told the Dáil.
Today, shipping containers and lorries are the coffin ships of the 21st century. It highlights the human tragedy of displacement and conflict. These coffin containers are what many people fleeing persecution and war have to resort to in order to get to safety.
The Sligo-Leitrim TD made an official complaint to the gardaí after receiving a text message which dubbed him a “traitor” and threatened that he should be “executed”.
Mr Kenny said: “I have been texted and I have been getting emails and some of them are very nasty.”
He said he had spoken to others working in NGOs with asylum seekers who have also received threats.
Mr Kenny first spoke up after locals in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, this week mounted protests outside an apartment complex earmarked to accommodate 130 asylum seekers.
He said he had “personal experience” of local elected representatives “whipping up hysteria, demonising people and standing as a bulwark against reason and civil discourse in favour of domination and superiority”.
Mr Coveney appealed to all TDs to “make sure that when we contribute to those discussions and debates, we do so in a way that recognises the obligations we have as a country and try to calm what is sometimes hysterical language in a way that is reassuring”.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament yesterday rejected a resolution that would have required member states to keep their ports open to NGO ships rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.
The resolution was defeated by two votes, with Fine Gael’s four MEPs all voting against it.