Were Irish locals fighting asylum seekers? Or is it anti refugee sentiment?
Fact Check: Asylum Seekers Were Not Fighting Irish Locals
Were Irish locals fighting asylum seekers? A local posted a video to Twitter this evening that depicts what appears to be an alleged fight between Wicklow locals and migrants. The video has raised the question as to whether the fight is related to recent anti refugee protests in East Wall and Fermoy, or the harassment of women. Other protests were held in Fermoy near Loreto Sports Hall and Dublin this evening.
It cannot be denied that anti refugee sentiment has increased in Ireland over the past weeks. Some claim this is due to the housing allocation of ‘military aged male’ international protection applicants in small communities. A local further states single male asylum seekers harassing the local women is the cause of the migrant conflict.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland believes the “protests against the arrival of applicants for asylum and international protection in places like East Wall, Dublin and Fermoy, Cork threaten to cause division within the communities,” which one can infer could not be connected to the harassment of women.
What does it mean to harass a woman? The Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act (1997) harassment legal definition states it is an offence to harass another, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse. According to § 10 (2), a person harasses another if:
(1) They intentionally or recklessly cause serious interference with the person’s peace and privacy or cause alarm, distress or harm to that persons and,
(2) Their actions are such that a reasonable person would realise that the actions would cause such interference, alarm, distress or harm.
Some examples of harassment are persistently following, watching, and pestering women or any person. This may also include “cat-calling” and “slut shaming.” Conall Ó Fátharta states the most common harassment in Ireland is sexual harassment. For example, a 2019 poll found 32% of women aged between 18 and 34 experienced some form of sexual harassment. As stated by Fátharta, “women are much more likely to have suffered sexual harassment, while younger age groups are more likely to have suffered either violence or harassment.”
What should one do if migrants are harassing women in Wicklow? Women who are being sexually harassed by a migrant or any person, should contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. Women can call their National 24-Hour Helpline at 1 800 77 8888, at any time of day or night. The crisis centre also offers free and confidential listening and support service for anyone who has been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted. For the locals, this “is the tip of the iceberg. It will only get worse in every town and city.”