‘No one here, there or anywhere can accuse me of being racist’

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae participating in a ‘Killarney has its fair share’ protest march to an asylum seeker accommodation last November

Despite expressing concerns that 70 asylum seekers have been housed next door to a 90-year-old woman and claiming that local people have stopped walking the usual footpaths and now walk in loops around Killarney, a Kerry TD has insisted that nobody can accuse him of being racist.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae stressed that he has nothing against migrant workers with proper documentation and work visas or people who are genuinely distressed but he objects to those that have passports when boarding planes and none when they arrive here.

“One arm of the Government is giving out tents this evening and tomorrow morning it will come along and pick them up and dump them.

“If people are taken to court, they are told they will not get asylum yet there is no one to deport them,” he added.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae: “It cannot be right that I have to ask for the same concessions for Irish people”

Deputy Healy-Rae remarked: “It cannot be right that I have to ask for the same concessions for Irish people as are being afforded to Ukrainian refugees who are getting social welfare, being housed in hotels and getting school transport at their request, with €800 being paid tax-free to landlords who rent houses to them.

“This cannot be done for Kerry people. Ukrainian refugees get medical cards and they are not even sick”.

He said he knows the reason why locals in Killarney have changed their regular walking routes but the Government needs to find out.

Speaking in the Dáil on the proposed international protection,asylum and migration pact, Deputy Healy-Rae said Kerry has the second highest number of refugees and asylum seekers in the country and it is impacting on the local medical service.

“We do not even have one extra GP in Killarney. Our social welfare services are stretched to capacity.

“Some 36 per cent of our hotel beds are being used by refugees and asylum seekers, clearly reducing footfall to all the other hospitality,” he said.

But Deputy Healy-Rae insisted: “No one here, there or anywhere can accuse me of being racist. For more than 20 years, I have helped the Bangladeshi community and many other migrants from other communities in different ways”.

KillarneyToday.com: Read by thousands of people every day: To advertise call 064-6631281 or 087-2229761