Protest against racist attack on homeless camp – standout against racism

Press statement from Ruth Coppinger

Tomorrow Monday 30 January 6 pm at Ashtown station

The attack on a group of homeless men in Ashtown, Dublin 15, is a sickening low in the spiral of recent racist acts that far right agitators have stirred up.

A number of men with dogs, sticks and a baseball bat attacked a campsite on the banks of the Tolka River at Ashtown on Saturday, shouting at the occupants to ‘Get Out’. One Polish man was hit with a baseball bat several times. The attack was interrupted by journalists and would undoubtedly have been even more serious.

The men living in the tents are of various EU and non-EU nationalities and had been working and renting here, but had become homeless. They are victims of the housing emergency in this country whereby successive governments have allowed landlords and vulture funds control housing supply and rents. Tents like this, with Irish and non-Irish homeless people, are now a common feature throughout Dublin 15 and the whole country.

A pathetic attempt at justification for the attack was that the men had been involved in a sexual assault. Gardai have said these men are not suspects in a rape. If there is any evidence that they are it should be immediately reported. The fact the attack was preceded by vile and violent online racist commentary about burning out the campsite and attacking it with dogs confirms this was purely racist.

Injecting racism into the serious issue of men’s violence against women is disgusting and serves absolutely nobody. It is a longstanding racist tactic to associate migrant men with rape. Gender based violence is a global epidemic and Ireland has always had a significant problem of violence against women.

16 women have been murdered on the island since Ashling Murphy’s killing last January, including most recently Maud Coffey in Ashtown, for which an Irish man has been charged and about which the far right were noticeably silent. These racists don’t care about violence against women but are willing to use it for their own purposes. The far-right actually promotes misogyny and extreme macho behaviour and add to the culture that breeds violence against women. They are backward, sexist and homophobic and would take women’s and LGBT rights back decades. It is critical that the rise in misogyny and violence against women is challenged — but it will not be done by racist and macho thuggery. Rather we need a united movement of all genders and races to challenge the attitudes that perpetuate gender-based violence and to demand the resources to tackle it.

The Dublin 15/7 Action Against Gender Violence group recently held a vigil in Ashtown following Maud Coffey’s brutal killing and some of the members of that group are initiating a standout against racism in Ashtown tomorrow Monday at 6pm. I would strongly appeal to the community and people throughout Dublin who are concerned about racism to mobilise for this standout and attend.

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