Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle urges Government to show strong leadership: We can overcome attempted divisions by standing together

Pringle urges Government to show strong leadership: We can overcome attempted divisions by standing together

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, called on Government to show strong leadership in the face of recent arson attacks, and credited communities across Donegal and across the country that have rallied against acts of violence and hate toward people seeking asylum.

Addressing the Dáil on Tuesday, Deputy Pringle said: “I would like to begin by stating how disgusted I am at the recent arson attacks that have been taking place. Attacks like these are devastating for a community to witness and I would like to make it very clear that they do not reflect the feelings of a community, only the hate of a handful of individuals.

“These individuals claim to care about the safety of a community, while at the same time they are literally burning its buildings to the ground. The only thing these people care about is spreading hate and igniting violence. The justification for their actions being in a community’s interest are disgraceful and disingenuous, because the people burning down local buildings are not the same people as those involved in the tidy towns, or community council meetings each week. They are not the same people as those packing bags or standing with collection buckets for local clubs or charities.

“And they are certainly not the same people as those running local support groups, youth groups, community kitchens, food banks or parish quizzes. Many are not even from the communities they seek to divide, and to claim that they are acting for the good of that community, while they undo the work of many great and genuine community workers, is nothing but an insult.

“It is most likely these community workers that will be left to clean up the mess of arson attacks and face the consequences of such hate and violence. And it is important to remember that the cost of such a clean-up will only come out of the pocket of the council and, as a result, the community themselves.

“I only hope that acts like these empower communities to stand up against hate and violence. Communities across Ireland and Donegal have already rallied against acts of violence and hate towards asylum seekers and have come together in support of people coming in and the diversity that they bring,” he said.

The deputy was speaking Tuesday evening during statements on recent arson attacks.

Deputy Pringle said: “But the government needs to support communities in doing this as well. Its approach to these attacks has been completely inadequate and has done nothing to challenge those who fan the flames of unjust hatred.

“The government needs to provide increased supports for asylum seekers and the communities hosting them, but they also need to start acting on the rising anti-immigration sentiment in this country, which has now risen to dangerous levels which is being driven by just a few people.”

He said hate crime must be addressed and treated seriously, adding: “We need to take a strong stand against division in this country and reject the hate of those who seek to endanger our communities with violent arson attacks.”

The deputy said: “The government needs to start showing leadership on this issue by addressing the needs of communities, who are resilient and who have shown time and time again that they are willing to come together and overcome these attempted divisions. And by standing together we can overcome them. That means standing with everybody, including asylum seekers as well.”