‘Terrible rumours’ about activities of asylum seekers must stop, says Martin

‘Terrible Rumours’ About Activities Of Asylum Seekers Must Stop, Says Martin
The Tánaiste spoke to one of his party councillors in Co Galway who had criticised Government policy on migration earlier this month.
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By Jonathan McCambridge, PA

False stories around refugees being involved in criminal activity in Ireland have to stop, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said.

Mr Martin said healthy debate over immigration was important, but he added that “terrible rumours” had circulated about the actions of asylum seekers.


The Tánaiste spoke to one of his party councillors in Co Galway who had criticised Government policy on migration earlier this month.



The exchange took place after a suspected arson attack on a disused hotel in Rosscahill, Co Galway, where 70 asylum seekers were due to stay.

Fianna Fáil councillor Noel Thomas said in the aftermath that he did not condone the suspected attack on the Ross Lake House Hotel, but said Ireland should stop accepting asylum seekers because “the inn is full”.

Mr Martin cited the comments of Co Galway Fianna Fáil TD Eamon O Cuiv, who argued “there was room at the inn”, in the form of an empty hotel that could have housed people before it was damaged.

Mr Martin said he did not see further incidents of party members speaking out against immigration policy occurring.



He added: “Ireland is much better than what we saw in Galway. There are challenges, of that there is no doubt.


“There is a fundamental view in terms of how society is organised, you provide shelter, you educate people irrespective of background.

“We have the history as a country of seeking shelter all over the world in a different time.

“In the 19th century, when we experienced famine and for a good 40 to 50 years afterwards, Irish people went all over the world and were taken and were received sometimes after challenging circumstances, but prospered and grew and developed and became part of society.



“So I think we have to be very clear on fundamental principles into the future and in terms of how our policies reflect that.”

Mr Martin said every party had individuals who had “particular perspectives on things”.

He added: “We are a democracy, I understand that.

“Other parties are talking about the need for debating the issue, I think healthy debate is important.


“People asking questions is important, but the line has to be drawn in terms of any nuance or any implication about blockading or burning places or indeed suggesting that people, just because they are asylum seekers, are going to be the next day engaged in some terrible activity.

“Some terrible rumours went about the place in the last year-and-a-half.

“Friends of mine were getting into taxis to be told somebody was raped last night … there was no such event.

“That has to stop. We have to keep balanced and firm and fair and factual about that and not allow people to send false stories up the field.”

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