Simon Harris criticises ‘thuggish actions’ of minority to asylum-seekers

Minister for Justice says gardaí are taking tough line with far-right agitators

The Minister for Justice Simon Harris has asked communities not to be taken in by “far-right elements” protesting in their neighbourhoods.

Mr Harris said gardaí are investigating a number of “people with sinister motives” who are travelling around the country seeking to stir up trouble.

Communities had a right to ask questions about people seeking international protection arriving into the State, but it was not the same thing as allowing outside elements to agitate on their behalf, he said.

Mr Harris criticised the “thuggish actions” of some of those demonstrating against refugees being housed in their communities.


“I would say to anybody who has concerns or questions or wishes to engage or consult on these issues, please do not allow your concerns be hijacked or exploited by what are clearly far-right elements,” he said.

Mr Harris said he was bringing forward proposals which will be put to a Cabinet subcommittee next month dealing with the 5,000 people who arrived in the State between January and November last year that had either fake or no documentation on arrival in Ireland.

He said there was a “world of difference” between those who were concerned about the number of people seeking international protection and those who were threatening asylum seekers with violence.

“When it comes to the migration system, we need to have a rules based system. People who come to Ireland and seek protection and have a right to protection should have a right to get a quick decision in an efficient process,” he said.

“Equally people who get to Ireland and don’t have protection should get a quick decision and if they don’t have a right to stay, they should be asked to leave.

“It is really important that we have robust checks in relation to this. I met with the gardaí in relation to some of their operations in relation to here and abroad.

“I intend to report to the Cabinet committee next month on a series of actions that we can take so that we have a balanced, compassionate, but rules-based and efficient migration system.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times