Coolock protests bring traffic to a standstill

Vile nature of protests must be stopped, says Councillor

by Rose Barrett
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Once again, the rumoured assignation of a Dublin location as a possible centre for asylum seekers has resulted in huge protests. This time, it was a warehouse in Coolock that was the target of the anti-refugee brigade, with up to 1,000 protestors present one evening alone, and one of them on horseback causing havoc to evening traffic.   

Confirmation by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) that it is currently considering an offer for the use of the former Crown Paints warehouse in Coolock, was met what one Dublin City councillor described as an engineered response with “criminal undertones”. 

The DCEDIY was seeking to refurbish the warehouse so as to accommodate International Protection applicants, with modular units placed inside the warehouse, providing mixed use accommodation for families, couples, single adult males and single adult females. 

“An experienced and trusted accommodation provider has expressed interest in the delivery of the accommodation and attendant security services under this proposal,” said a spokesperson for the Department. 

“People seeking International Protection would be accommodated on a gradual basis under the proposal, and an estimated 500 people may be housed there. Further details and full engagement will take place with public and community leaders in due course.”

But angry protestors have been standing outside the former Crowns Paints warehouse over the past week, often causing traffic disruption with one protestor on horseback bringing traffic to a standstill on Wednesday night last week. 

Cllr Daithí Doolan (SF for Ballyfermot-Drimnagh) told Dublin City Council’s Joint Policing Committee this week that there may have been possible underlying ‘criminal element” within the protest organisers. He stated that one leader among the protests was a known ‘convicted drug dealer’, along with having previous connections with the British National Party (BNP).

Cllr Doolan told the JPC meeting this week that he had serious concerns about some of those involved, and described them as ‘far right’ and totally anti refugee, no matter what the proposals or refugee status. The protestors caused serious interruption to public transport and one bus had to divert through a housing estate to complete its run. Cllr Doolan called on An Garda Siochana to reveal its strategy in dealing with these horrific protests.

Over St Patrick’s Weekend, asylum seekers moving from Mount St out to Crooksling were subjected to vile verbal abuse and name calling.

Responding to Cllr Doolan, Assistant Garda Commissioner Angela Willis said that protestors often express opinions that are not popular with the wider public but as they are not breaching public law and order, the Gardaí can simply observe, often seeming to be the facilitators. The Gardaí cannot get involved unless the law has been broken.

She stated there were garda investigations ongoing into nine arson attacks across Dublin, with at least ten arrests made to date in relation to same. Cllr Doolan said the level of intimidation and violence shown over the past 18 months was intolerable.

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