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About 60 asylum seekers moved into Santry complex – The Irish Times


About 60 asylum seekers were moved into a commercial unit in Santry, north Dublin, in the early hours of Saturday morning, a site which has been the centre of local protests in recent weeks.

Video footage circulating online shows a number of protesters at the Airways Industrial Estate complaining to gardaí as they form a line to allow minibuses to access the facility.

A spokesman for the Garda on Saturday said the force “continues to have a proportionate response to a demonstration at this location but also continue to facilitate access to and from the premises”.

“An Garda Síochána continues to support the International Protection Office, Government departments and NGOs in providing Ireland’s international obligations to international protection applicants,” he added.

Garda sources said the events overnight into Saturday morning were not unusual in that the force has consistently moved protests back to allow asylum seekers to access their accommodation, as this is their human right.

Situations where gardaí have been seen to allow blockades to form have related to service providers bringing furniture and other fixtures into the facilities, rather than asylum seekers themselves. In these cases, service providers have been able to carry their deliveries in on foot, but their vehicles have not been let through, sources said.

The Garda spokesman pointed out there is a constitutional right to the freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, subject to statutory provisions, and that local gardaí continue to maintain a presence at the location on Saturday and continue to engage with all parties.

“Any Garda response in relation to evolving events is in keeping with a community policing model and graduated policing response taking into account relevant legislation and public safety,” he said.

“Where necessary An Garda Síochána puts in place appropriate and proportionate policing plans to provide a balanced response to various responsibilities and concerns.”

TDs from Dublin North West were briefed on the development in recent weeks. While Coalition sources said there would be around 100 people housed there, briefing documents given to local TDs show that capacity is for 303 people on a phased basis.

The documents suggested arrivals would take place over three phases: 126 people in the first phase, 132 in the second phase and 45 people in the final phase.

The “resident breakdown” was to be for single people, and the owner was to be offered an 89-week contract. They were later told the contract was for a year, with the possibility to extend it for a second year.

The building has been compartmentalised and the number of singles beds in the rooms vary from three to 10. Full board catering is to be provided on site.

The owner is identified in the documents as the Goldstein Property ICAV, which is also the owner of the building in East Wall where asylum seekers were housed in one of the first accommodation centres to face significant protests.

Gardaí have been informed about the opening of the centre, according to documents given to TDs, with “further liaison planned”. There will be five security personnel on site.

TDs were told the Garda vetting process is “not relevant” to the accommodation centres “as many of those arriving are fleeing violent regimes and accessing previous files from those jurisdictions would be problematic”.

Residents will have been fingerprinted on arrival when they make a claim for international protection. There will be common areas for residents and lounge areas, as well as a basketball ring and a five-a-side football pitch.

Residents will be allowed to come and go as they please as it is their home, TDs were told. The centre will be for adult males, according to the documents.

Protesters at the site last week insisted they are “not racists or fascists” and said they were determined to continue blocking the entrance of the facility “for as long as it takes”.

“We’re people who are concerned about our neighbourhood, we’re not fascists,” one protester told The Irish Times earlier this week.

“There’s 303 undocumented males coming into that factory warehouse. These women [the other protesters] all walk around here in the evenings for their exercise. That’s gone now, they won’t be able to do that.”

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