Peaceful protest proceeds in Castlerea despite calls for its suspension

A group of concerned members of the Castlerea community gathered last Sunday to take part in a peaceful protest in Castlerea to express their concern over the potential use of the Riverwalk Apartment Complex in the town as accommodation for refugees. Pic: Kieran Croghan

Last Sunday, approximately 100 people turned out for what was a peaceful protest in Castlerea. This was despite calls from the protest organisers – Community Stands Against Misinformation and Advocates for Responsible Government Action Castlerea – for the protest to be suspended.

The latter group, who say they are welcoming toward the applicants for international asylum, subject to proper resourcing, claim that potential attempts by “bad faith actors” to stir up division was the motivation behind their decision to “suspend” a demonstration they had originally scheduled.

Recent developments surrounding the refurbishment of a building in Riverside apartments for the purpose of accommodating international protection applicants have caused confusion and concern among residents of Castlerea and surrounding areas.

Since news of the development broke last week, there have been numerous claims of the spreading of misinformation, particularly on social media. There are claims too that a separate group has attempted to infiltrate what are intended to be peaceful and respectful demonstrations.

According to the group of concerned residents: “Castlerea needs additional infrastructure to accommodate a large group of new residents, regardless of their background. Without adequate housing, services, education, and healthcare facilities, the town’s resources are already stretched thin”.

Despite calls for the planned protest scheduled for Sunday, May 19th, to be suspended, a demonstration did go ahead. The original organisers said: “We, the local people of Castlerea, refuse to witness a repetition of the unrest experienced in other parts of our country. Our community rejects any attempts to cause fear and unrest, and we refuse to allow any individuals with an alternative agenda to infiltrate our peaceful demonstration”.

As Castlerea navigates these challenging circumstances, the community’s call for adequate support and infrastructure remains unwavering: “Instead, we entrust our local politicians with the responsibility of conveying our concerns to the government. We implore them to seek factual evidence and advocate for responsible decision-making on behalf of the Castlerea community. We appreciate your understanding and support as we navigate these challenging circumstances”.