Anti-immigration rally and counter-protest at International Protection Office pass off peacefully

Chants of ‘Send them home’ responded to with chants of ‘Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here’ from across the road

A group of about 30 people gathered outside the International Protection Office on Dublin’s Mount Street on Friday evening to protest at what they described as a migrant camp on their doorstep.

They were outnumbered, however, by a counter-protest made-up of more than 100 people who lined up alongside a row of tents where an estimated 170 men have been camping out for months due to a shortage of accommodation for international protection applicants.

There was a large Garda presence, including several public order units, but the protest and counter-protest passed off without incident.

The counter-protesters, some of whom waved Palestinian flags, were the first to arrive, with close to 100 people in place before 5pm. As they waited, a woman carrying a megaphone prepared the outline of a strategy.


“We want to protect the tents and I think we should stay tight together as a group,” she told the crowd. “And if it gets hairy we should stay together and move towards the city centre until it is safe to peel off.”

It became clear there was little chance things would “get hairy” shortly after 5.30pm, when the anti-immigration protesters assembled. Some chants of “Send them home” were responded to by chants of “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here” from the other side of the road.

The tents were largely empty for the duration of the protest, although a man who has been living in one for two weeks stayed close to the scene. Identifying himself only by his first name, Ahmad, he said he had travelled across Europe from Palestine to Dublin.

He said conditions in the tents were tough and he appeared bemused by the protest, but he added that he did not feel threatened by it.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast