For the second night in the past week, East Wall residents rallied to protest the planting of an asylum centre in the former ESB Building by an overstretched Department of Equality. Numbering north of 300 at its peak, the crowd assembled at 5pm at the five floor building now earmarked for 380 international protection applicants, 80 of whom have seemingly already arrived.
Addressed by local representatives as well as republican Malachy Steenson, speakers were keen to stress the lack of consultation with the community as well as decry the ongoing “plantation” by the powers that be.
Anger was specifically directed at mention of Sinn Féin, with chants of ‘traitors’ being heard when a defaced party political banner of Mary Lou MacDonald, whose constituency the site is located in, was brandished near the front of the crowd.
This comes the same day as a man was charged with making serious threats of violence to Grand Hotel Direct Provision Centre in Bray, while in August a direct provision centre was moved from Finglas at a former vaccination centre under threat of violence.
Describing potential threats to the safety of local women and children according to press statements that so far the centre has been filled with 80 single men of Middle Eastern, African and Albanian origin.
It has been reported that Dublin City Council was not forewarned about the dumping of these migrants in the community, with An Taoiseach even linking East Wall protests to helping the Russian war effort.
Local reports from outside the centre the past week describe a steady flow of what appear to be cars of Albanians leaving the centre, potentially an indication of the broader use of Ireland as a bridge to get into the UK as reported by the press before.
Per clockwork protests around the centre have elicited the usual claims that the ‘far right’ are taking advantage of communities, with the Irish Freedom Party so far having a noted presence at the protest.
It is believed that Gateway Integration Ltd will operate the centre and has received a 12-month contract for their services by the Department.
The protest concluded calls to reassemble tomorrow at 5pm with a palpable sense of disgust in particular at Sinn Féin. By any measure the worsening situation, coupled with the desperate housing situation, has presented a febrile situation for the NGO machine and Left to grapple with.
East Wall may yet be marked as the beginning of the cleaving away of Sinn Féin working class base towards nativist politics. Wherever the situation goes, the feeling of injustice has rallied those who years ago could have been counted as Sinn Féin reliables in the Water Protest years. Perhaps this gives a sense of what is to come this decade.
With a doctrinaire commitment towards open borders, the Sinn Féin political machine has played a dangerous game the past two decades on the topic of migration. Attempting to be all things to all men, they mingle a working-class political base with an increasingly progressive and third worldist party core. The contradiction is what any populist movement of the right will leverage, and the greenshoots thereof we may be witnessing finally at East Wall.