Lisdoonvarna Direct Provision week 2

This is a follow up to last weeks post on the proposed direct provision centre in Lisdoonvarna. You can read that here.

Last week we held a vote on the direct provision centre contract. We spent time on the wording because it wasn’t the asylum seekers we were voting on. Since then we’ve had a lot of attention. Lots of extremists like to see it as our opposition to asylum seekers, our 93% vote against them. I’m glad we copper fastened the wording so history proves it was the contract we opposed and “we” being just over 10% of those eligible to vote based on the register of electors and residents not registered.

Of course I have been asked about the validity of the vote given that public participation is my thing. One of the main gripes with the community was not being given enough time or advance warning of the centre opening. That is exactly the same for that vote. There was not sufficient notice. We were in a weather warning. People had received mixed messages because officials cancelled. It was little over 10% of those eligible who voted. I would not consider it very representative of the parish at large but definitely of those there. Again the vote was NO to “the proposed direct provision contract?”

How easily some people have moved to exploit it!

On facebook we set up a welcome group and people flocked to join. Unfortunately someone who had been masquerading as a local got in and took screenshots of our good intentions. He then posted it to an Irish alt right facebook page and they ridiculed it even threatening to burn the hotel down.

Looking around social media you will see numerous videos doing the rounds including one with footage taken at the “vote”, edited to suit the racist agenda. Some of the posts are quite shocking and threatening. There’s the conspiracy that the recent national development plan is implementing some sort of strategy to go along with the “Great Replacement of Europeans”. As per the fliers posted up around the village and on the door of the King Thomond.

You can see that poster as well as information on the flier that was distributed during the week, in the Irish Times article here.

The article also mentions our welcome plans however, despite my pleas, the journalist went with opposition dominating the article. A couple of people did a good job of deflecting the responsibility for the racists away from the locals but it’s still the main story.

Most telling is the following excerpt:

Breitbart intervention

The arrival of the Dublin-based group coincided with the publication this week of a story on Breitbart, the US alt-right news platform, about a secret ballot vote in Lisdoonvarna in which 93 per cent of respondents said “no” to the direct provision centre.

The Breitbart story was based on an interview with Lisdoonvarna local Michael Walsh, who was one of the founding editors of the alt-right platform. The author and screenwriter moved from the US to the Co Clare town a number of years ago and today lives in a renovated ancestral home there.

In the interview, Walsh lamented Ireland being “a slave state” of Brussels.

On the imminent arrival of the asylum seekers, Walsh said: “They won’t tell us what country they’re coming from. What religion they’re from.”

Personally I wonder why that information is important. I’m here 3 years and nobody asked me those questions before I moved in.

Here’s more about Breitbert for those unaware of it.

We now have a plethora of twitter hashtags so every time you search for Lisdoonvarna you get things like #GodBlessIreland, #StandwithLisdoonvarna, #SaveLisdoonvarna, #LisdoonvarnaSaysNo, #weareirish, #Ireland2040, #Nationalism, #globalists, #multicult, #invasion. You can see some of the posts for yourself by following this link.

This must stop here.  By sending out this message extreme right wing, potentially dangerous, people and groups have come to our community in person and online. People are more afraid of these individuals than they are of asylum seekers. I know that I am not the only one who feels more unsafe now that I have ever done in Lisdoonvarna. Even the concerns I have during September are nothing in comparison. People are afraid to express their compassion and consideration for the people coming next week. So this racist campaign is actually bullying our community.

I almost cancelled the photo shoot yesterday morning out of fear but what would that have achieved? It would have left little or no positive news for the article. Eventually I decided if these fascists threaten or harm me or my family it only proves that they are the actual enemy. I’m going to condense that – I was afraid of the people who have been invited into our community by the racist element who have summoned support.

As for the scare mongering. I’ve lived beside 2 Direct Provision centres in 10 of the past 14 years and there was never a problem with crime. The people with problems were within the centre. The people who could help them with their problems were in the community surrounding them.

We have to work together to reverse the damage this is doing to the village, within the community and economically with the tourism season starting. It is despicable that people are afraid to speak up. To think that children are listening to racists conversations. In 2018? In Ireland – a country that has spread its people so widely around the world.

Here are the second round of questions to and replies from the RIA:

In 2 days 30 vulnerable people will join our community. We will leave them alone to settle in. Some morning soon we will have a welcome reception and everyone will be welcome to join us. Keep an ear out for updates.

Theresa O’Donohoe

March 10th 2018


Published by Theresa OD

Change maker and mother of 5 living in the west of Ireland

3 thoughts on “Lisdoonvarna Direct Provision week 2

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