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Over 200 people gather at protest in Mullingar in relation to housing of asylum seekers

Protesters gathered outside Columb Barracks at 7pm on Thursday and marched to Market Square in the centre of Mullingar.

It was confirmed earlier this week that the barracks in Mullingar is under consideration for the temporary accommodation of refugees and asylum seekers.

Leaflets handed out at the protest titled, “Mullingar Says No”, said organisers “do not condone violence”.

It read: “It has been confirmed that the Department of Defence are planning to put between 200 and 600 of single, military aged men, into tents in the grounds of the barracks in Mullingar.

“There are also unconfirmed reports that there is a plan to house up to 1,700 in the building itself.

“This will have a devastating effect on the vulnerable people currently being cared for by the 30+ voluntary groups within the confines of the barracks and for the wider community in the peaceful town in Mullingar.

“It’s time our government answered to us. We need to stop this now, or there will be nothing left of Ireland for our children and grandchildren.”

Some protesters carried Irish flags and at times during the protest, some people chanted “enough is enough”.

One poster said: “No heat, no homes, no health, Éire is sick of the lies.”

While another said: “Hard times create strong people, weak people create hard times. We need strong leaders.”

The Irish Independent has contacted the Department of Equality and Integration for comment.

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