Immigration protest and counter rally in Dublin attract hundreds

Pro- and anti-immigration campaigners were kept apart by gardaí

Hundreds of people turned out to protest outside the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin’s city centre on Saturday afternoon, with pro- and anti-immigration campaigners on opposite sides of the road.

The anti-immigration rally, Dublin Says No, attracted about 300 people, while the counter rally made up of about 250 people, took place across the road.

Protesters attached to the counter rally, organised by Le Chéile, which is aimed at promoting diversity in Irish society, carried signs saying “Don’t let the racists divide us” and “No to far-right lies and racism, yes to solidarity”.

On the opposite side of the road, those attending the anti-immigration rally, understood to be organised by the Irish Freedom Party, carried signs reading “enough is enough” and “are our children and streets safe?” while others held up Tricolour flags.


A number of gardaí were present to ensure both sides remained apart despite some heated exchanges. The Dublin Says No protesters later travelled past the Mansion House and on to O’Connell Street.

People Before Profit member Owen McCormack, from Balbriggan, who was part of the counter rally, said “targeting refugees is not a solution”.

“We acknowledge that we face multiple crises in housing and health but directing that anger towards refugees is counterproductive,” he said.

“We also think we represent the vast majority of ordinary people in Ireland who are opposed to racism,” he said. “People do not like the way in which refugee centres have been targeted and the way false stories are being spread on social media, that these people are a major risk.”

Also taking part was Paul O’Brien from Dublin city centre, who said he was “very worried” about a rise in protests against immigration.

“People from outside are coming into working-class areas and diverting what is legitimate anger about housing, health, drugs, and that anger is being expressed not against the Government, but against refugees,” he said.

“Right-wing parties are going into these communities and stirring up legitimate anger and poisoning these communities. From past experience, if you give these people free rein, they will grow. We have to offer communities some alternative.”

Taking part in the Dublin Says No protest was taxi-man Gavin Pepper from Finglas.

“I’m not far-right, migrants are being put into working class areas. There’s no migrants in Dublin 4, Dalkey, Killiney; it’s always Finglas, Drimnagh, Clondalkin. We don’t have room, what about our kids and our areas?” he said.

“They’re saying there’s no housing and 200 modular homes are being built in Cavan for people from Ukraine. I support people coming from Ukraine, from the war, but people from Albania and Georgia are not fleeing war.

“Most people here are residents with kids, obviously there’s a couple of people affiliated with the National Party or whatever, and they’ve their own views but this is a democracy, I’m allowed have my own views. I’m not going to be drowned out, they can have their say and I can have mine.”

Sinead Kelly, from Drimnagh, said refugees fleeing war were welcome, but added “I am against illegal immigrants coming into this country destroying their documents”.

“There are Irish people on the streets sleeping on cardboards and everything is being pulled out for foreign people entering the country,” she said.

“So I’m standing here for Irish people, out of concern for them and their safety. We don’t have the public services to deal with this and anytime you raise concerns, you’re called a racist and that is not true.

“I think there needs to be a public discussion around all of this without this hatred and division that’s happening at the moment.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times