Northern Ireland news

Still no comment from DUP a week after 'vile' asylum seeker comments from councillor

The Loughshore Hotel where it thought that It is thought 30 asylum seekers are housed for the next three to four months. The hotel is not expected to be open to the public until September. Picture by Mal McCann.
Connla Young

THE DUP has still not made any public comment a week after "vile" comments were made by a Co Antrim councillor about asylum seekers staying at a hotel in Carrickfergus.

There was controversy after Mid and East Antrim councillor Marc Collins queried why 30 asylum seekers were being temporarily housed at the Loughshore Hotel.

The DUP politician, who helped build an Eleventh Night bonfire in the Glenfield estate in Carrickfergus earlier this month, has insisted his concerns had nothing to do with race.

"In our daily work we come across so many local families and individuals who are in crisis, homeless, relying on food banks, etc. and yet none of this help is ever afforded to them," he said.

"Why can't our homeless veterans be put up in hotel accommodation until a home is found for them?

"Why can't working class families who are struggling to stay above the breadline be provided with their food and drink free?"

East Antrim Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has called on the DUP to condemn Mr Collins's comments, which he described as "vile ".

The DUP did not responded when contacted.

Last week Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton said some social media posts are being investigated as potential hate crimes.

“PSNI has received a number of complaints regarding social media content focusing on the use of a hotel in Carrickfergus to accommodate men and women seeking asylum in the United Kingdom," he said.

 

"The content of these posts is currently being investigated as potential hate crimes.”

In a statement yesterday however a spokesman for the PSNI said "at this time, the Police Service of Northern Ireland has not received any complaints in relation to an elected political representative and comments made online".

A petition set up in support of the asylum seekers by migrant and ethnic minority groups has attracted support from political leaders including Alliance leader Naomi Long, SDLP MP Claire Hanna, Green Party leader Clare Bailey and People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll.

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