A group of locals from Ashtown in Dublin held a solidarity rally for migrants attacked in a nearby makeshift camp at the weekend.
The camp of several migrant working men, who could no longer afford rent, was abandoned following an attack from a group of Irish men, with several dogs, including an American pitbull terrier.
The men shouted “get out” while holding sticks and a bat.
Gardaí estimated up to 80 people attended a solidarity rally in the town last night against what campaigners say is a growing momentum of far-right ideals.
People at last night's rally chanted: “Racists, hear us loud and clear, migrants you are welcome here” as members of different communities showed support for minorities who say they are becoming increasingly anxious and afraid in Ireland.
Former TD for Dublin West Ruth Coppinger, who organised the event, said the community of Ashtown does not want to be “tarnished” by what happened and that voices in opposition to such attacks must ring clear.
One Indian couple, who wished to remain anonymous, has lived in Ashtown for two years and said the community is full of “good people” but that recent events have made them concerned.
“It makes us a little worried to go out at night or to travel on public transport.
“Luckily, we haven’t faced any incidents and we like the community here,” said the woman.
Another woman from Sudan, who has lived in Ireland for over 20 years, said she feels unsafe because “the far right is on the rise”.
“All of the black community are terrified,” she said, before adding that friends raised safety concerns at her attending the rally in Ashtown.
Karen Dempsey, who was at the rally on behalf of the group, Dublin 15/7, against gender violence, said: “These people initially leveraged violence against women as their rationale for their attack with absolutely no evidence. We can’t have ripples of rumours going through societies and causing massive upheavals."
She added this undermines the fact that the vast majority of violence against women in Ireland is by Irish men.
Ms Coppinger, said many are trying to label the incident as fabricated saying that those who carried out the attack were “caught in the act”.
“It wasn’t imagined, the far right is doing their best to try to tell everybody it’s another conspiracy,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Dublin City Council joint policing committee has heard that policing anti-migrant protests has created a “very challenging environment” for gardaí, which has to be measured in its response to any demonstrations.
Assistant commissioner Angela Willis said there has been a sharp increase in the number of protests in the first month of this year.
In 2021, gardaí policed 395 protests. In 2022, this dropped to 307. However, so far in January, gardaí have policed 64 protests, Ms Willis said.
She said that gardaí are keen to avoid a “riot-style situation” and a balanced approach is essential.
However, Sinn Féin councillor Daithí Doolan said it would be naïve to wish away such behaviour.
“I don’t think it will disappear,” he said. “That level of aggression is here for the foreseeable future.”