Cathie Shiels
The Workers’ Party strongly condemn those responsible for a fire started at a hotel in Roscommon, which was intended to house 80 asylum seekers as a Direct Provision centre.

Speaking on the matter, Workers’ Party representative Cathie Shiels said:
“Direct Provision is a brutal system to begin with. It is effectively imprisonment, for people who have committed no crime and in many instances have endured incredible trauma and hardship before arriving in Ireland. It denies asylum seekers basic dignities like cooking and privacy to those seeking protection in Ireland.

“Despite what people might imagine, living in a hotel is no life of luxury – residents of many Direct Provision centres have likened it to an open prison. For the situation to be worsened by actions like this is appalling. We stand in solidarity with our friends in Direct Provision, who will undoubtedly be feeling fearful in the wake of this hateful act.”

Shiels continued:
“There is always a minority of individuals with deeply-held racist views in any society. In Ireland, we have seen a rise in racism and violence targeting vulnerable asylum seekers in recent months. These racist individuals are seizing on the current scale of discontent and housing crisis in Ireland, in an effort to build broader support for their ideas.

“I am calling on working class communities to reject such manipulation. Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants have done nothing to cause our housing crisis. Rather, it is a succession of right-wing governments who have forced wages to stagnate and refused to invest in decent, public housing.”

She concluded:
“People coming from places such as Syria and Libya have been driven out of their homelands by these same governments. They would never have been forced to seek refuge here, were it not for Western governments’ meddling.

“Let us be absolutely clear, it is the actions of governments like ours, in alliance with the EU and US, which is driving the hunger, poverty and war that forces migrants and refugees to flee their homes. This is what we must fight against.”