Dublin Communities Against Racism

Letter to:

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth,
Department of
Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth,

Mr. Roderic O’Gorman,
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth,
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth,
Block 1,
Miesian Plaza,
50 – 58 Lower Baggot Street,
D02 XW14


Dear Mr. O’Gorman,

Dublin Communities Against Racism (DCAR) is writing to you to express our serious concern about the policies of the government and your Department which have provided fertile ground for a rise in anti-refugee sentiment in communities across Dublin and beyond. And in noting these policies of concern we will not even mention the crises in housing and health, the ongoing neglect of the poorest, marginalised communities, the lack of services, the failure to address ever worsening income equality and all the other failures of this and previous governments which are now being blamed by racist and fascist elements on asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland.

We would, firstly, condemn out of hand the apartheid refugee policy of the government. The treatment of Ukrainian refugees compared to the treatment of those seeking asylum from other parts of the world has served to create the idea of “good refugees” and “bad refugees” and to significantly underpin the toxic racism being fed into our communities. We cannot accept your promotion of the idea of less worthy and more worthy human beings. This underpinning of racism has been compounded by the marked tendency of your government to lay the blame for your failure to provide accommodation for those seeking refuge on a rise in the number of International Protection applicants when in fact it was your governments thoroughly irresponsible policy (supported by significant “pull” factors) of accepting any number of Ukrainian refugees, in no matter how short a time period, which led swiftly to the accommodation crisis, a crisis which in turn provided fuel for the propaganda of the far right that Ireland was being “overwhelmed.”

While noting actions of the government which have provided fuel for a rise in racist, anti-refugee sentiment what we principally seek to highlight in this correspondence is a matter in which your Department has the ability to effect immediate beneficial change. It is our firm belief, as experienced community activists thoroughly familiar with the areas of Dublin and elsewhere where anti-refugee protests have broken out, that had your Department provided full information and engaged in meaningful consultations with the local communities around the housing of those seeking refuge these protests would have been significantly avoided. Lack of information and consultation has, in every instance, opened up a space that has been successfully exploited by far-right elements. We demand that your department provide full information to communities where you plan to accommodate those seeking refuge and that dedicated processes of consultation are undertaken that meaningfully address any genuine local concerns. We also demand that the government provide the resources required for additional educational, health, youth and other services resulting from increasing local populations. As the EU can, apparently, provide unlimited support for Ukraine there is no reason why the necessary funds cannot be provided that will assist in successfully integrating in local communities all those seeking refuge in Ireland. Finally, with regard to Dublin, we would note that the policy of your Department of accommodating those seeking refuge almost exclusively in working class areas of high deprivation once again creates an opening for the far right to spread it’s toxicity, this time exploiting an existing sense of disadvantage and marginalisation. We can see no logic to this policy other than pandering to the political base of certain political parties and we demand that it be scrapped forthwith.

Yours sincerely,

Helena McCann