As Ireland's Housing Crisis Worsens Anti-Immigrant Protesters Burn Down Camp for Asylum Seekers

Anti-immigrant activists in Ireland targeted a makeshift camp for asylum seekers in capital Dublin on Friday, showcasing the increasing resentment against illegal immigrants in the country. The burning down of the camp that houses asylum seekers and illegal immigrants happened following a protest march to the site on Friday.

Far-right organisation Real Message Eire took responsibility for the attack. The outfit said the camp was a shanty town that houses "illegal migrants and communists". The burned down camp was situated in a predominantly working-class neighbourhood in Dublin, according to Euro News.

refugee crisis and the children
A child sleeps on a blanket pulled by two men as refugees and migrants walk towards the Greek-Macedonian border, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, February 21, 2016 - Representational

Ireland has been witnessing a housing crisis in the last several years, which has been exacerbated by the huge inflow of refugees in the aftermath of conflicts in Afghanistan and Ukraine.

"It's not about racism. There is no room for them ... Why should migrants skip Irish people on the housing list? I won't accept it," a young protester said at a rally last year, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Other residents are worried about the safety of the neighborhoods as refugees flood the city. "I have five girls and two boys and the girls are afraid to go out at night," another protester said.

According to data publicly available, the number of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers in the small European country has multiplied several fold in recent years. The country now houses more than 70,000 migrants, including 54,000 Ukrainians and some 20,000 asylum seekers from other places who are termed international protection applicants.

Ireland PM Leo Varadkar
Ireland PM Leo Varadkar IANS

One years ago, the total number of asylum seekers was only about 7,500, the Guardian report says. "Hotels, emergency shelters and other improvised accommodation centres are full. Last week the minister for integration, Roderic O'Gorman, said in effect there was no room for fresh influxes. The UN refugee agency said Ireland's asylum system appeared to be "unravelling," trhe report went on to add.

"I've a housing crisis – there are six of us in a two-room maisonette ... . Shame on the government. Look after your own first," said one Irish national attending the protest rally, according to the report.

The latest incident happened when a group of protesters gathered around Sandwith Street and Pearse Street near Trinity College Dublin. The intention of the protesters was to evict the illegal migrants from the site.

Dublin police said officers "attended following reports of a protest/demonstration involving groups of people in the Sandwith Street area of Dublin 2 on the evening of Friday 12th May, 2023."

"Gardaí engaged with those present and one male in his thirties was later arrested under the Public Order Act. He has since been charged to appear before Dublin District Court later this month. As the groups involved dispersed, some furniture and wooden pallets were set alight in a nearby lane way. No one was injured," the police said, according to Euro News.