Cllr Mulligan faces backlash over refugee comments

Sinn Féin councillor Michael Mulligan took to social media last week to raise his concerns over the increase in the number of refugees being accommodated in Ballaghaderreen.

In a Facebook post, which has since been deleted, Cllr. Mulligan accused the Government of using the west Roscommon town as a “dumping ground”.

He added that refugees should be placed in areas with work options, while illegal refugees “should be sent back to where they came from”. He also cited the current homelessness crisis and a lack of local services.

Cllr. Mulligan was unavailable for comment this week but Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion has since told the Irish Times that the post did not reflect the party’s views, and described the comments as “totally and utterly unacceptable”.

Meanwhile, the Roscommon native who heads up a national refugee and migrants’ organisation, has called on party leaders to ensure members avoid “populist rhetoric which unfairly demonises and scapegoats refugees, asylum seekers and migrants”.

Rooskey native and head of Doras, John Lannon, said Ireland has a responsibility to provide protection for people who arrive here seeking it.

“Ireland has welcomed close to 60,000 people from Ukraine, and while the State has struggled to find accommodation for them Doras welcomes the Government’s stated intention to move from an emergency response to a more mainstreamed approach,” he said.

“We also welcome the programme of support for local communities that was announced. However, political parties must play their part in ensuring this is not undermined by ill-advised statements from its members”.