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Activist wants ‘reasoned discussion’ on asylum seeker plans


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Activist wants ‘reasoned discussion’ on asylum seeker plans Activist wants ‘reasoned discussion’ on asylum seeker plans

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A well-known community activist in the east of the city has appealed for reasoned discussions about plans to accommodate over 300 male asylum seekers in Ballybrit.

Former local election candidate Michael Tully, who is based in Ballybane, said the debate around the proposal to house 302 people in empty office blocks in Ballybrit Business Park was happening at two extremes, while many people living locally were “somewhere in the middle”.

“There were protests organised up there this week by radicals,” said Mr Tully of demonstrations which have been orchestrated by known members of the far right.

“But there are people that think it is unsuitable because they’re putting 300 men in basically a warehouse that’s surrounded by high fences with CCTV cameras all around it. It’s like a prison or an army barracks – where’s the humanity in that? These are people we are talking about.

“There are genuine concerns about it being 300 men, because that’s unhealthy, in the same way it would be unhealthy if it was 300 women. There will be people in there that have families and would be better off mixed with them,” he said.

Media debates about the centres rarely featured nuanced opinions that were based in genuine concern, he said, and tended to favour more radical voices.

“Listen to any of the radio debates or TV discussions and it’s always the two sides shouting each other down. On one side, they’re calling people terrorists and on the other, everyone who has any concern is labelled right wing.”

Mr Tully, who is involved with several community projects locally including the Merlin Allotments and setting up an orienteering group, said there should be a more concerted effort to integrate asylum seekers in the community ahead of moving them into an area.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the June 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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