Protest against system is not for 'nimby crowd'
A protest will take place outside the Town Hall on Thursday in opposition to turning the Grand Hotel into a centre for direct provision.
2016 local election candidate and activist Anna Doyle is organising the protest, but warns it isn't for anyone harbouring 'nimbyist' views.
'This protest isn't for the "not in my backyard" crowd or anyone engaging in racism. The protest is purely against direct provision, which is a failed system that lets down the most vulnerable in our society, such as wartorn refugees seeking asylum. To be placed four to six to a room is unacceptable. There is no privacy, no dignity and no head space,' said Anna.
The protest has been organised for 6 p.m. and will take place directly outside the Town Hall in Market Square.
Outlining her reasons for opposing the opening up of the centre, Anna said: 'The Grand Hotel has no outside area for kids to play safely. Direct provision is not acceptable and we need to end it now. We need a better alternative where families can be families and kids can be kids.
'There is documented evidence of the mental health issues from those already living in hotel rooms. A hotel is just that, a hotel, not suitable for long term arrangements. The loss of Wicklow town's only hotel is a blow to the community who have been promoting our town for tourism'.
Meanwhile Anna and others plan to try and make life for the different nationalities staying in the centre as welcoming as possible.
'Refugees are welcome here to integrate with our community and enhance it. We hope to arrange classes for anyone who needs English lessons and are also looking into providing a space once a week where the refugees can cook for themselves'.
Cllr Gail Dunne has also arranged for a public meeting to take place in St Patrick's GAA Club on Tuesday, November 20, starting at 8 p.m.
'This is a discussion that has to be held in the public domain' commented Cllr Dunne.