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Sinn Féin creating dangerous and hostile rhetoric on Ukraine refugee crisis – Carroll MacNeill

30th August 2022 - Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, TD

Sinn Féin is creating a dangerous and hostile rhetoric on the Ukraine refugee crisis based on unchallenged remarks from some of its TDs, according to Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill.

Deputy Carroll MacNeill said it appears the party is using the humanitarian response to the Ukraine conflict as an opportunity to sow discord amongst communities in Ireland.

Deputy Carroll MacNeill, Fine Gael spokesperson on equality, said: “Remarks from Sinn Féin representatives in recent weeks based on the ongoing response to assist those seeking international protection and refuge here have been extremely worrying and unhelpful in the extreme.

“We recently had Kildare South Deputy Patricia Ryan write to constituents suggesting ‘significant conflict’ could arise between local residents and Ukraine refugees expected to move into modular housing units in the county.

“The letter states that Sinn Féin supports the use of modular homes, but that the proposed sites are ‘far from ideal’, adding ‘these are areas with a very significant social housing need, where levels of homelessness are rising. Other public services including GPs and school places are under serious pressure’ she wrote.

“Deputy Ryan goes on to state that if the process is not managed right and the views of locally based representatives are not listened to, ‘the potential for significant conflict with host communities is significant, which in turn could be exploited by small far right elements’.

“It comes after her colleague, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, suggested the Government was complaining about spending money ‘on its own people’ yet it was ‘boasting’ about its response to assisting those fleeing the war here during an interview on the Mica redress scheme earlier this summer.

“To those reading between the lines, it appears the only party looking to exploit this conflict is Sinn Féin given the negative and dangerous messaging from some party TDs.

“As soon as the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, the Government moved quickly to implement the EU Temporary Protection Directive, which offers aid and access to shelter and the job market and education for refugees.

“This is the right and proper thing to do and both the Government and people of Ireland have been unwavering in their support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

“In addition to state services, the humanitarian response requires the continued assistance from the public, who have been nothing short of phenomenal thus far.

“What is unhelpful is attempts by Sinn Féin to sow discord, resentment and create an ‘us versus them’ narrative as has been demonstrated by some of its representatives.

“The latest remarks from Deputy Ryan have been met with silence from the party leadership, which speaks volumes about the party’s populist agenda on certain policy matters.

“We have also seen Sinn Féin failure to criticise Russia in the European Parliament, which is evidenced by their embarrassingly poor voting record. The same report from VoteWatch Europe in June found that Fine Gael MEPs have been most critical of Russia in recent years.

“In December last year, Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus also voted against an EP resolution to support Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine and Russia’s military build-up along its borders.

“What we need now from the upper echelons of Sinn Féin is a clear and unequivocal statement of support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine.”

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