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Ukrainian crisis exposes chasms in housing crisis

World of Politics with Harry McGee

It’s now 25 years ago since I first reported on the tensions associated with people arriving to reside in Ireland from abroad, particularly asylum seekers. I was working for The Sunday Tribune at the time and visited a house in Dublin’s Arbour Hill where a lot of immigrants were living.

Most were African but there were a few from the Middle East. They told me of the incidents they faced on a daily basis, and the kind of racist slurs they faced, including the use of the ‘N’ word.

Some joked of a new reason for guards to stop a car and ask its occupants for documents. It was BMD, or Black Man Driving.

There were bits and pieces of casual racism at the time but nothing organised, but as the numbers seeking asylum reached a peak of about 13,000 between 2001 and 2003, you would hear more of it.

Whenever I went out canvassing with election candidates, particularly in urban estates, there would invariably be one or two people who would buttonhole the politician and say: “I’m not racist but….”

They would then describe how immigrants seemed to be getting favouritism in terms of housing, medical cards, social welfare, and help. Of course, it was not true, but that was the narrative.

The introduction of direct provision certainly changed the dynamic. Those seeking international protection were put in accommodation centres where meals were also provided. They were also given tiny weekly allowances. It certainly brought down the numbers, but it was sub-optimal.

Something like that works on a short-term basis, but some people have ended up living in direct provision for many years.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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