Thursday 24 October 2019

Angry clashes at anti-racism rally in Irish Midlands

The event was held outside the Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey, Co Roscommon, which has housed asylum seekers.

A confrontation at an anti-racism rally in Rooskey (Niall Carson/PA)
A confrontation at an anti-racism rally in Rooskey (Niall Carson/PA)

By 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.

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Luke Flanagan MEP speaks at the rally in Rooskey (Niall Carson/PA)

The No To Racism: Asylum Seekers Welcome rally was addressed by MEP Luke Flanagan and some residents, while it also heard music from local musician Ronan Gallagher and poetry from Dave Lordan.

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.”

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A banner on display in the town (Niall Carson/PA)

He added: “Because it’s 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.

“There are an enormous amount of very, very decent people who are absolutely horrified by these attacks.”

A number of 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.”

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