I find it a little bit nauseating to hear people talking about their ‘concern for the asylum seekers’ as a reason for their committed opposition to housing them in their community.
It has always struck me as odd that the people expressing concern have never exhibited strong feelings in that connection in the past.
The latest town to find its voice to complain about housing asylum seekers on the purported grounds of ‘lack of consultation with the community’ and ‘inadequate local services’ is Ballinamore in County Leitrim.
It would be interesting to hear the view of the asylum seeker as to their choice between a place like Aleppo in Syria and Ballinamore in Leitrim and ask them would they be prepared to take their chances with the swap.
Somehow, I think they would jump at the chance.
What I find even more stomach churning and sick making is the procession of local politicians, with a small number of exceptions, who appear on the scene to speak out of both sides of their mouth but recognise clearly where the votes are to be found.
The coining of phrases of spin, such as ‘proportional allocation’ or ‘integration not segregation’, to be affixed to neat little placards of protest, to deflect from the real reasons for the opposition is tediously transparent.
Thankfully there are a couple of bright lights and glimmers of hope: Borrisokane in Tipperary has apparently changed its stance from opposition to welcome for asylum seekers and a local politician-Martin Kenny, Sinn Fein TD in the Ballinamore area-has spoken out in support of the asylum seekers when the easier approach would be to do what many other politicians do: mouth platitudes of concern about refugees and asylum seekers until they show up in their community and then leaf through obscure reports from anywhere they can find to justify opposition.