The Mayo Branch of United Against Racism is extending a welcome to all the refugees & asylum seekers who are seeking shelter in our towns and villages.

In a statement to Midwest News today it says they find it disturbing that a tiny number of “right wing people” have recently tried to manipulate the concerns of members of the local community to stoke up fear and suspicion towards refugees and asylum seekers.

United Against Racism, Mayo Branch say they take heart from the humane and generous response of the majority of local people to the plight of refugees and asylum seekers and acknowledge the legitimate concerns that many local people have with respect to the “chaotic handling of the situation by the Irish government which is creating a lot of unnecessary hardship and suffering”.

The group goes on to state: the housing crisis in Ireland existed for Irish people long before any refugee crisis ever emerged and it must also be emphasised that even if the Irish state didn’t take in a single refugee we would still have a severe housing and homelessness crisis because refugees are not in a position to rent on the market or buy houses and so are not contributing to the shortage.

The reality is that the government has been operating a Direct Provision system for the past 22 years which is a highly profitable state subsidised business for corporations like Bridgestock and Aramark. In 2019, the cost of Direct Provision was €1.3 Billion which is money that would have been better invested directly in public housing on public land for all those in need. 

In Mayo the Census data shows that there were 9,166 vacant dwellings, which does not include holiday homes, of which there were 5,911. Most of these dwellings are within close proximity to a town or village and yet the government refuses to declare a housing emergency to compulsory purchase these dwellings and refurbish them as a solution to take people off the streets, off the waiting lists and out of the despicable direct provision system.

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