It’s been a week of putting out fires for the nation’s media-NGO complex grappling with the slow rolling disaster of the new Kinnegad asylum centre and resultant community fallout.
In classic departmental form, residents of the 2,700 strong Westmeath town woke up Thursday to 150 new mainly Arab men stationed at Harry’s Hotel in the heart of the town in an unannounced move by the International Protection and Accommodation Service (IPAS) tasked with procuring housing for the state’s doomed asylum policy.
Since Thursday the men have made themselves a particular nuisance with an assault occurring involving a 50 year old man on Monday and various reports of antisocial behaviour breaking into the mainstream.
With locals describing public urination in front of children as well as former staff members giving accounts of bottles being thrown out of windows by disgruntled refugees, opinion in Kinnegad is understandably antagonistic to the new centre and those behind it.
Recently reopened after a 2 year covid hiatus, hopes that Harry’s Hotel would serve the community were dashed as it appeared that the Polish owners had signed contracts with the the Department of Children to convert it into a refugee centre.
Previously providing short term accommodation for transient migrant labourers there has been a near constant Garda presence at the Hotel since last Thursday due to disturbances.
A 45 bedroom hotel now servicing 150 Middle Eastern men, there has been the predictable scramble to shore up the narrative by various media and political functionaries.
Per the standard routine the narrative almost immediately began to focus on the apparent injustices faced by the 150 Arab men being put up at the state’s expense at a hotel rather than the impact on the local town itself.
Where locals are allowed to properly air their grievances it was done under the guise of concerns around sustainability rather than the sheer outrage of placing 150 alien men in what should be a local amenity.
Straddling the line between dog whistling and placating the open borders lobby in trying to manage local backlash has been Labour councillor Denis Leonard who in an open letter to Minister Roderic O’Gorman cited the unsuitability of the hotel and town relative to the centre.
Leonard, like so many councillors and hesitant locals are playing a balancing act in objecting to the hotel on bricks and mortar grounds wishing it merely move elsewhere rather than the overall crime of planting the town or Ireland in of itself.
As sure as night follows day the debacle has attracted the attention of the antiracist lobby, fiendishly caught between defending the diversity line and government policy of expediently stuffing bogus asylum seekers wherever possible at the financial gain of local gombeens.
Similar to Wicklow Town or Lisdoonvarna before, the snatching up of such a vital and central centre by the asylum mafia is enough to hollow out a rural town. Visitors to Kinnegad this summer will not only struggle for accommodation but witness the spectacle of 150 bored Arab men loitering the town centre as a direct product of Ireland’s overwhelmed asylum system.
There are only so many Kinnegads the country can take before there is a genuine and unrelenting backlash. Kinnegad residents must accept that resistance means objections based on the natural right of the Irish nation to demarcate against foreigners instead of verbalising themselves merely in terms of NIMBYism.