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Sunday, October 17, 2021

‘Syrian Refugees’ protest at Causeway Council Office Coleraine

This evening ( Tuesday 26th) a number of individual took part in a protest against the rehousing of Syrian refugees in the Causeway Coast & Glen’s Council Area.
The protest outside the councils building at Cloonavin in Coleraine, coincided with the final full council meeting before the elections in May.
The crowd were protesting against the governments plans to house Syrian refugees in the area. Causeway council are only one of two councils yet to house the refugees, the other being Mid & East Antrim council.

Chief Executive of the council addressed the protesters outside before allowing a number into the council chamber.

As the council went into committee the protesters and media were asked to leave the chamber where they again spoke to David Jackson. There they requested a copy of the agenda and asked when the refugee situation would be discussed.
Chief executive replied to the group telling them;

“The decision is a matter for government (DfC) not for council.”

Mr Jackson went on advise the group to speak to their local councillors.

Speaking earlier this month, Sinn Fein councillor Ciarán Archibald welcomed the move and said;

“We all have a moral and political responsibility to extend the hand of friendship to those who are suffering from the worst humanitarian crisis of this century.

Thousands of individuals and families have fled from war, conflict, persecution and poverty and sadly many have lost their lives as they try to make their way to safety.

It is important the care we offer extends beyond simply opening the door for these people.Sinn Féin has been to the fore in supporting the rights of refugees and working to ensure proper structures are in place to welcome them into our community.”

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PUP councillor Russel Watton however disagreed with the governments plans, taking to social media to make his feelings clear.

“I have persistently said that no refugee should get housed before locals.I have a long waiting listfor locals looking Housing Executive properties.

The Housing Executive made a presentation to the Council a few weeks ago and I told them to their faces that ordinary working people retired or otherwise can’t get housed.Those who work or indeed worked all their lives can’t get housed.

Drug dealers, drug users, alcoholics, those who never worked a day in their lives and those with supposed mental issues are always catered for.

If the private sector wants to cater for these refugees let them do so.

Of course this will be branded as racist – well so be it. This Councillor will not be supporting any measure that allows Housing Executive properties to be allocated to refugees in front of hundreds of needy locals.

I hope this makes my position abundantly clear.”

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