A refugee who is fleeing from homophobic persecution in his home country has spoken about the fear and intimidation he and others felt because of the ongoing anti-refugee protests taking place in Dublin.
Last weekend and again this week, over 100 protesters gathered outside the Travelodge hotel in Ballymun, Co. Dublin, where 221 refugees have been granted temporary accommodation by the Department of Integration in Ireland. This protest was one of many which are taking place in the capital against the accommodation of refugees and asylum seekers.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, a refugee, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke about how families and children were scared of the protests taking place in Dublin, especially of the people that gathered outside the hotel where they were housed.
“They are aggressive, we don’t know if they will hurt you or throw something at you,” he said. “Fair enough we all try to fight for our rights, but there are a lot of families here and they have done nothing wrong.”
Describing a group of teenagers who tried to get into the hotel last Wednesday, he said: “They came here at night and they tried to get into the hotel and they tried to break the door”.
Joint Statement by organisations and public representatives in Ballymun.
We stand in solidarity with the vast majority of the people of Ballymun in opposing the abuse and hatred directed at refugees and asylum seekers in Ballymun over the last few days.
— Cllr. Caroline Conroy (@caroline1conroy) January 12, 2023
The man did not want to disclose where he is from, but he said that homosexuality is “against the law” in his home country. “I would go to jail,” he said, explaining how he decided to flee after his father reported him for engaging in a homosexual act.
“My father told me that I deserve to die and I brought shame to the family,” he said. “I don’t have a home anymore, I am so stressed that I cannot sleep at night. There is no future for me at my home.”
He concluded: “I want to work but I need a work permit. I just want to get a job and leave here and live my life like a human being.”
Say it loud and say it clear, Refugees are welcome here.#Drogheda #RefugeesWelcome pic.twitter.com/93imHeKg6O
— David O'Farrell (@ofarrelld) January 7, 2023
Speaking about the numerous protests happening in Dublin, Justice Minister Simon Harris commented: “In my mind, when people turn up outside a building that is providing temporary shelter to people, including women and children, and start saying things like ‘shout to get them out, out, out, out’, that’s not a protest, in my view. In my view, that’s intimidation.”
The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth also condemned the protests in a statement, which describes them as “intimidating vulnerable international protection applicants who have fled war and persecution”.
The statement continued by saying that “The Department strongly condemns any attempt to promote division and hostility towards those who come here seeking safety”.
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