15th April 2024

East Wall: United Against Racism Statement

With the policies that serve the interests of the people, not the developers and the landlords, Ireland could easily provide houses for everybody. That is exactly what we should all unite to demand on the Raise the Roof demonstration on 26 November and in all our campaigns.

United Against Racism is organising a migrant contingent for the Raise the Roof rally in Dublin. We are going to March with our brothers and sisters in unity and solidarity. We are not part of the problem but the struggle for a better Ireland for all.

Irish people are boiling with anger about the housing crisis and they are right to be so.

Irish people are furious about the soaring cost of living and they are right to be so.

Irish people feel they are being ripped off and taken advantage of by the elites and the people at the top. It’s true, we are being taking advantage of.

But none of this justifiable anger justifies what happened in East Wall on Saturday. What happened in East Wall was that this justifiable anger was manipulated by individuals and organisations of the far right and directed at precisely the wrong target.

It wasn’t directed at the Government; it wasn’t directed at developers or landlords or bankers or at any the people really responsible for the housing crisis and the soaring cost of living. Instead it was directed at ordinary people being brought into to temporary accommodation in an office block on the basis of their perceived nationality, skin colour or status as asylum seekers.

There are all sorts of poisonous myths, misinformation and downright lies being spread by those who want to divide us.

Let’s deal with some of them.

It is absolutely not true that Irish people are somehow being ‘replaced’ by migrants. This nonsense is imported from the Far Right and neo-Nazis in The US who claim the white Americans are being ‘replaced’ and from the far right and fascists Britain who claim that white British are being ‘replaced’.

It is said that that the refugees/asylum seekers are somehow ‘dangerous’ because they are single men. This is rubbish. They are no more ‘dangerous’ than were young single Irish men forced to take the boat to England or America in search of work in the past. The propaganda on social media that they likely to be ‘rapists’ or ‘criminals’ is horrible bigotry designed to stir up fear and hatred.

The objection that asylum seekers/refugees not been ‘vetted’ is completely misplaced. Asylum seekers ARE vetted before they are given refugee status and it is a long drawn out, difficult and nasty process. Would we demand that tourists should be vetted? How would we feel if Irish people travelling t England were vetted in case they were drug dealers or terrorists. We would rightly say this was offensive and prejudiced – racist even.

It is claimed that refugees and asylum seekers are given council houses ahead of Irish people. This is factually completely untrue. In fact asylum seekers are housed in the horrible Direct Provision system often for years and there are currently 3,800 who have granted refugee status who remain trapped in Direct Provision precisely because of the housing crisis.

It is claimed that ‘Ireland is Full’. This not true. The population of the island of Ireland is 7 million, one million less than the Irish population before the Famine. The population before the famine was 8 million. What Ireland is full of is empty houses. There are over 160.000 empty houses across the state, kept empty by landlords. That’s more than enough to provide housing for all.

It is claimed that vast numbers of refugees are coming to Ireland. There are vast numbers of refugees in the world today because of terrible wars, climate change disasters, extreme poverty and famine. But the number of refugees being taken by other countries is much greater than those being taken by Ireland.

Turkey has 3.9 million refugees; Germany has 2.1 million refugees; Poland has 1.2 million; Lebanon (a small country with a population of only 6.7 million) has 845,000 refugees; Ireland has 70,000, including the Ukrainian refugees.

But the fundamental point, the point which all these attacks on foreigners, migrants, and refugees miss, is that with decent policies, policies that served the interests of the people not the developers and the landlords, Ireland could easily provide houses for everybody.

And that is exactly what we should all unite to demand on the Raise the Roof demonstration on 26 November and in all our campaigns.

Join our contingent at the Raise the Roof Rally, 1pm, Saturday 26 November Dublin



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