Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Successive governments, not migrants, responsible for housing crisis

pringle: Successive governments, not migrants, responsible for housing crisis

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, urged the public not to fall into the far-right trap of blaming migrants and people seeking asylum for a housing crisis created by the inaction of successive governments.

Addressing the Dáil on Tuesday, Deputy Pringle said: “We have been dealing with an accommodation crisis in this country for a long time, long before the war in Ukraine and the increase in migrants to the country. This is not a new issue and it certainly isn’t a migrant issue. Anyone who suggests otherwise obviously does not have a clear understanding of the issue or they know well the facts yet purposely mislead the public for an ulterior and far more sinister motive.

“It can be very easy to fall into this trap. The public feel they are owed an explanation as to why their government has failed to support them and their families, and in the absence of leadership from the Government on this issue people may look to what seems an easy explanation, without thinking it through or thinking of its consequences,” he said.

Deputy Pringle was speaking during Statements on Accommodation Needs for New Arrivals to Ireland.

Deputy Pringle said: “I would like to take this opportunity to urge the public: Do not let those on the far right use you like this. They don’t and won’t care about you as soon as you have served the purpose they require. Their concern only extends as far as getting what they need. And once they achieve that, you will be left in the same position, but the divisions that are left will negatively affect so many lives, the lives of the most vulnerable in our society.”

The deputy said he has been made aware of many community groups that have been established in recent weeks under the pretence of protecting their community.

The deputy said: “Let me make it clear. These groups are not protecting your community, they are hurting your community. Hate begets hate and creating an environment of hostility and spite will do nothing to improve our communities. In fact, the only thing that many rural communities have is the support and friendship we give each other. Don’t let this be dismantled by those who have no idea of the meaning of community.

“I am always supportive of communities mobilising, of letting their voices be heard, but you have to know who you’re pointing the finger at. Years of inaction by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have created this crisis and only the government has the power to fix it.

“People who have come to this country to seek asylum and who are in the most vulnerable positions imaginable, have no power and are often left voiceless and abandoned in hotel rooms, centres or even on the streets. How can we truly believe that people who have been left in this situation pose any threat?”

The deputy pointed out that the country’s population still hasn’t returned to pre-Famine levels.

Deputy Pringle said: “But the reality is that if all migrants left tomorrow we would still have people sleeping in the streets, we would still have families in temporary accommodation and students camping out in their cars.

“I would ask the public to consider, who is really at fault here? It is clearly the government we should be rallying against. Communities are stronger together and I implore the public not to allow unnecessary and unwanted divisions to destroy us,” he said.