Sir, – There is no doubt that the Department of Justice has mishandled the process of placing migrants in small rural communities. The lack of consultation on the placements does not help the process of integration and opens the door for extremists to pollute the narrative with conspiracy and hate. This needs to be tackled head-on, and there should be zero tolerance for language that dehumanises vulnerable people who have in many cases put their lives at risk just to get here.
The fact is that going forward Ireland will increasingly become a target destination for both economic and climate refugees. Across the globe millions are already on the move from regions where both extreme weather and corporate exploitation are forcing them off the land. In regions where there is already extreme poverty, the climate crisis will lead to the breakdown of precarious food supply systems, and civil society will come under significant pressure. More developed nations, such as Ireland, will be better prepared for the changing climate and present themselves as the only options for desperate people. Globally we need to recognise that the climate crisis is not just about weather, it’s about the survival of functioning societies. If we’re not prepared to tackle our addiction to fossil fuels then we need to start preparing for significantly larger influxes of refugees.
Based on the events of recent weeks I would worry about how this country might react to this inevitable level of immigration. There appears to be a not insignificant level of latent racism in this country and it has become emboldened. It is key that the majority remains empathetic to the plight of refugees and continues to understand that leaving one’s home place is typically an action of last resort. – Yours, etc,