Today, 13 January 2019 was a wonderful day in the village of Rooskey (also Roosky) , a village on the River Shannon in the northern midlands of Ireland, near the point where counties Leitrim, Longford, and Roscommon meet.
Last week, Rooskey was on the national news due to the actions of a few who wanted to spread hate and fear and divide our communities using racism, not just in Rooskey but everywhere they can get away with.
The suspected arson attack on a vacant hotel in Rooskey, intended for use as a reception centre for asylum seekers was a shock to all decent people of Ireland.
The people of Rooskey and the nearby towns have replaced that shock with feelings of solidarity and unity. We like to congratulate all activists from Rooskey and the nearby towns for organising a solidarity rally and bringing out more than 100 people, majority from the area.
Today. the people of Rooskey and other villages and activists from different parts of Ireland stood against racism, extended their welcome to asylum seekers and demanded and end to the dysfunctional and inhumane direct provision system.
But that wasn’t all. People also raised their anger with economic policies of the government, including housing, health and public transport for rural areas.
Organizers Leah Doherty and Eamonn Crudden, along with many others have done an excellent job.
Rooskey showed us the way today. As one speaker said, “Rooskey and the people of the area have become a shining light of solidarity and kindness”. Music, spoken words and and chants filled the air with messages of unity.
People from Ballaghaderreen brought their solidarity with refugees to Rooskey.
There were many local people at the rally. A significant majority were local people.
Rooskey is not, was never a racist town.
Today people waving their proud County flags and holding home made placards exposed the dangerous opportunism of some outsiders who by their hateful actions wanted to create a nasty atmosphere and drag Rooskey’s name down with them.
Rooskey is very much on the map. Not because of the acts of a few racists but the wonderful acts of solidarity of the many.
When the racists fail in their ambitions of spreading hate they spread lies and try to discredit these acts of kindness.
Soon after the rally they were on social media claiming that there were no locals at it.
This is not just a lie but also extremely disrespectful to the people of Rooskey.
There were also migrants at the rally who had long made the towns in the area their homes. They have become part of their communities.
As with Ballaghaderreen, we should all be proud of Rooskey. It is not just a picturesque town but one with great soul and spirit.
Today, 13 January 2019 was a great day in Rooskey.
One to be remembered in years to come.
Visit Rooskey. Don’t just drive by. Stop for a coffee sometime.
United we stand, divided we lose.
Our slogans today were
With deep respect to organizers, all people of Rooskey and activists.
United Against Racism