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Dublin riots: Roles reversing in one of world’s most welcoming cities | World News


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Nestled in the oldest part of Dublin is a market that sells just about everything: Ireland flags, stone statues of Buddha, lace knickers. But freedom seems to be in short supply at Liberty Market.

This year, the market is celebrating its 50th year. Larry Mooney has been a vendor here for that entire time and says the city centre no longer feels safe.

“Personally myself I wouldn’t go into town. I lived on the north side, now I live on the south side because there’s no way I would go down because it’s like a no-go area,” he told Sky News.

“I haven’t been into the city for about 35 years for the simple reason there are so many nationalities in the town that people are afraid to walk down the town.”

Vendor Larry Mooney
Market stall vendor Larry Mooney

He’s not the only one staying away from Dublin City centre. Parts of the city are still reeling after as many as 500 people rioted through the streets following a knife attack on schoolchildren and a teacher on Thursday.

The rampage is reported to have been fuelled by unsubstantiated rumours that the attacker was a foreign national. Crowds burnt vehicles, attacked Gardai and smashed and looted shops.

The unrest followed growing anti-immigration sentiment in small parts of the country, exacerbated by crimes attributed to migrants. Ireland has also struggled to deal with an influx of Ukrainian refugees that has led to a record number of asylum seekers.

‘There’s no fairness’

Mr Mooney said: “We’re bringing people into the country and the minute they get here they’re getting everything – free medical card, housing – while Irish people are living in the streets.

“There’s no fairness.”

“Some of them are going back to get their kids’ teeth done in Ukraine,” he added.

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Dubliners reflect on riots

Frustrations about immigration are worsened by a long-running housing crisis. In Dublin, house prices and rents have become unaffordable, leading to overcrowding in socially deprived inner city areas. Homelessness is at record levels.

“People are p**sed off, that’s the main reason,” one Dublin resident told Sky News.

“I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner, to be honest.”

“If you’re helping other people,” said another, “help the ones who have been here for longer. Otherwise it’s going to create conflict.”

Someone else chimes in: “Ireland is a welcome place for immigrants.”

Read more:
Girl, 5, among three children stabbed in Dublin
The knife attack and police clashes in Dublin – what we know

Sabina Syed and Aisha Ali stack shelves
Sabina Syed and Aisha Ali

Six miles south of the epicentre of Thursday’s violence, Sabina Syed and Aisha Ali stack shelves with non-perishable food items. A dozen cartons of flavoured milk, a box full of M&Ms and welcoming teabags that are arranged neatly in a cold warehouse.

Their weekly soup kitchen was cancelled after Thursday’s violence for the first time in eight years.

Immigration ‘has become the scapegoat’

“It is shameful that we had to cancel the soup run because of what happened in town,” said Ms Syed. “We have service users who are vulnerable.”

Ms Ali adds that it was difficult to not be able to help those in need during a particularly cold week.

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Varadkar slams ‘cowardly champions’

Both women are themselves immigrants. They say immigration has become the scapegoat.

“Even though you call this country a home, you do what you can to give back to the society, when something like this happens you do feel unsafe and you do feel unwanted,” Ms Ali said.

The Muslim Sisters of Eire soup kitchen serves about 500 mostly Irish people every week, an example of immigrants giving Dublin’s indigenous communities a helping hand.

The city appears to be changing and not everyone likes it.

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Written by: radioroxi

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