Video: Mixed reaction to Martin Kenny's speech on asylum seekers in Dáil Eireann

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

Video: Mixed reaction to Martin Kenny's speech on asylum seekers in Dáil Eireann

Deputy Martin Kenny

Deputy Martin Kenny, Sinn Fein's spokesperson for justice made a speech on asylum seekers in Dáil Eireann yesterday that has had a mixed reaction locally.

The speech was made before representative from Ballinamore Community Group met with Minister David Stanton and department officals on the plans to accommodate 130 asylum seekers.

The Minister has decided to pause the accommodation plan until all option are considered.

Social media lit up after Deputy Kenny's speech with many Ballinamore locals feeling insulted by Deputy Kenny's speech. But he also got praise on social media for standing up for those less fortunate.

Here is a video of yesterday's speech:

Martin Kenny TD spoke about how racist language was becoming normalised and should be rejected by all parties in the Dáil.

Deputy Kenny, who referred to the deaths of 39 people in a refrigerated container in England, compared this with the Irish in coffin ships during the Great Hunger and what vulnerable people today resort to in an attempt to reach safety.

Deputy Kenny continued: “Unfortunately, some people in this country peddle far right ideology and may be happy that thirty-nine fewer immigrants will be coming to Ireland potentially.

“The hatred that these people disseminate, mainly through the Internet, is regrettably taking root in some places in our society and that is what I want to talk about today.

“The language the far-right uses and the tone of speech that it normalises has taken root among people who would otherwise be decent and reasonable. That is where the greatest danger lies. It has become acceptable for some people to talk about asylum seekers being 'dumped' in a town.

“The word ‘dumped’ insinuates something is of no value. We only dump rubbish.

“This issue goes beyond immigrants and minorities. It is also an issue of class because in many places around the country where there are proposals to build emergency accommodation or social housing, there are objections from communities which are excited by hysteria that they do not want “those sort of people” around them.

“That is the challenge for the Tánaiste, the Government and all parties.  

"The government's limited policies on social housing to provide for the underprivileged is always heralded in the Dáil, but on the ground it is members of Fine Gael branches, and even Fine Gael councillors, who lead the protests to block these.

“I have personal experience of senior members of Fine Gael, including a local councillor, whipping up hysteria, demonising people and standing as a bulwark against reason and civil discourse in favour of domination and superiority.

“We have to stand for equality and justice every day on the hard days and the easy days. 

"I want the Tánaiste to assure me that he is prepared to stand against prejudice and that the government is prepared to stand against this sort of thing creeping into our society."

Also read: Pause on asylum accommodation plans for Ballinamore