Republic of Ireland news

Angry clashes at anti-racism rally in Rooskey

Pro and anti-refugee protesters clash at an anti-racism rally in Rooskey on Sunday. Picture by Niall Carson, Press Association
Rebecca Black, Press Association

An anti-racism rally in the Irish Midlands has led to angry confrontations.

Around 40 activists turned out in Rooskey on the Roscommon-Leitrim border on Sunday, where a hotel that has housed asylum seekers has been the subject of alleged arson attacks.

The Shannon Key West Hotel has been earmarked as a location for a future Direct Provision centre.

The No To Racism: Asylum Seekers Welcome rally was addressed by MEP Luke Flanagan and some residents.

Event organiser Eamonn Crudden said he wanted to make asylum seekers feel welcome.

"It's aimed at letting asylum seekers know that the people who are there will welcome them into the area," he said.

"We know that the Direct Provision system is not a good system but we will do our best to support them. Because it has been in the news now for the past couple of months, people are going to have an association in their mind, Rooskey and arson attacks on Direct Provision centre, we don't want that to be the thing that stays in people's minds about this area."

Several residents said they were upset at the rally taking place in the town and they are opposed to a Direct Provision centre in the town because "the services are not there to support it".

The Caiseal Mara Hotel in Moville, Co Donegal, which was preparing to house up to 100 refugees from the Congo, Pakistan, Angola and Eastern Europe under the Republic’s Direct Provision scheme, was severely damaged in a fire in November.

At the time some people in the area said the refugees would place a burden on resources in the town which has a population of approximately 1,400.

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