It was only 72 hours ago that Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins reminded citizens of their responsibilities towards refugees and asylum seekers in these highly challenging times.
Mr Higgins said Irish people living in poverty, who feel threatened, need to understand that by taking them in, the country is making a “commitment to a common humanity”.
He also warned that the old definitions of borders and states and our classification of forms of migration may no longer be viable in the context of ongoing climate emergency. “Everything has changed,” he said.
While this is undoubtedly true, it is the traditional, longstanding, yardsticks and conventions which are being used to underline the legal requirements and responsibilities of the Republic to provide shelter and accommodation for arrivals whose numbers would be increasing significantly even without the cruel impact of Vladimir Putin’s criminal war on Ukraine.
That this is causing disquiet is highlighted by a poll which found that almost half of Irish people are dissatisfied with the Government’s handling of the situation and that more than a third believe it is not just the far-right who are opposed to refugees being welcomed to our shores.
It is the type of finding which will be music to the ears of those seeking to increase anti-immigrant sentiment in our country.
The latest modular housing without planning permission for people on social housing lists rather than refugees from conflict in the Ukraine. Navigating around the planning laws is now a favoured government response to the accommodation crisis./Red C poll also identified stronger support for the installation of
While the survey is only a poll, and polls can change quickly, a hardening of attitudes is in some ways to be expected, in winter with a punishing cost-of-living crisis, and with a domestic housing shortage now a seemingly permanent aspect of our society.
With incidences of public opposition increasing and being further stirred up by cowardly anti-immigrant sentiment, these are moments for calm heads, effective communication, and visible leadership, both in person and online.
Community, identity, stability is an important maxim. We need to work on it.