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Here's why Ireland is at boiling point over mass immigration

Hundreds of protests in towns have sprung up in Ireland with people calling on the government to end what they say is an "open borders" globalist agenda that is putting the needs of migrants ahead of its citizens.

The Irish government’s unwavering commitment to housing and feeding an unprecedented influx of migrants in the wake of a severe housing and cost of living crisis has brought the Irish electorate to boiling point. It has many similarities to the migrant crisis in the U.S.

Hundreds of protests in towns have sprung up around the country with people calling on the government to end what they say is an "open borders" globalist agenda that is putting the needs of migrants ahead of its citizens -- many of whom are struggling to pay for everyday items and unable to buy or rent homes as Ireland’s homeless numbers skyrockets. 

Several high-profile crimes linked to migrants have also driven fear into the native citizenry, culminating in the shocking knife attacks on young children and their teacher by an Algerian-born Irish citizen in November that triggered rioting and looting in the nation’s capital.


Those who want immigration laws enforced and numbers reduced say they are being ignored by the political establishment.

"Ireland is a tinderbox at the moment," Irish journalist Fatima Gunning told Fox News Digital. "At this point, I don't think anything would surprise me."

On Monday, thousands of protesters carrying Irish flags rallied in Dublin calling for an end to mass migration and demanding that a new nationalist government take its place.

Chants of "get them out" in reference to the government, echoed throughout the nation’s capital while others carried signs reading "Irish lives matter" and "under siege, invasion." Large banners reading "mass deportations" and "end the plantation" hung from a bridge. 

The protesters say they represent the silent majority of the electorate – around 75% based on several polls – who say immigration is too high and that the country has taken in too many refugees.

Their anger is also being fueled by how they are being treated by the mainstream media, which is dominated by liberal news outlets as well as the semi-state-run broadcaster RTE, who seldom cover protests or do so with bias, they say. 

Think of an America without Fox News. 

For example, last Monday’s march was described as a "large crowd" by RTE and afforded just six lines of coverage on its website. Gript, a relative newcomer to the media scene, has been filling the void and has covered many anti-mass immigration protests.

"For the past two years, they've been calling people like that ‘racist’ or ‘far-right extremists,’" Gunning says. "Politicians and the mainstream media, official Ireland, that of strata of society say immigration is just totally positive. There's no negatives whatsoever and then anyone who even says something like, Oh, ‘I do agree with immigration but I think there should be controls on the numbers,’ is a racist, that's how it is."

Immigration into Ireland has more than doubled over the last 20 years with 22% of the population now made up of non-citizens, meaning Ireland has the fourth largest non-national population of all 27 EU member states percentage-wise, according to published EU statistics

The steady increase in migration first started with the free movement of people agreement under the EU’s Nice Treaty in 2003. It posed little problems as mainly eastern Europeans traveled to Ireland to work in the Celtic Tiger economic boom era.

But in recent years, droves of high numbers of asylum seekers have been arriving at Ireland’s shores and are being handed all sorts of taxpayer-funded welfare benefits and housing, while Irish citizens struggle to make ends meet with high inflation, a crippling housing crisis and an overwhelmed health system. 

For instance, Ireland has taken in more than 104,000 Ukrainian refugees since the onset of the war, the largest number per capita in Western Europe despite Ireland being the most westerly located nation in the whole of Europe. The figure equates to 2% of Ireland’s 5.12 million population and every Ukrainian refugee has been provided with free accommodation, free health care and, until recently, was being paid a weekly wage of around $235.

Another 30,000 non-Ukrainian refugees are currently being housed by the Irish government with taxpayers churning out more than €1 billion in the first nine months of 2023 accommodating migrants, according to government data. Meanwhile, the country’s debt is among the highest in the world per capita, standing at €223 billion in 2023.

Accommodations, including modular homes, have been built for migrants but very little, if anything, they say, is being done for the homeless population, which hit an all-time record last month. Planning rules to build some of these homes have been ignored in order to get the refugees housed at rapid speed. 

"There's a really palpable feeling that these non-national people are being prioritized over Irish people, which they are," Gunning says. "I mean, it's not even a matter of opinion that they are. There are Irish people who cannot get medical cards (health benefits) for whatever reason. These people are all given medical cards regardless of need and that's obviously a priority [of government]."

And it's not just the perceived unfairness that has angered Irish people. Just like in the U.S., Irish people feel that many of those seeking asylum have dubious claims and are essentially economic migrants who are draining taxpayer coffers.


In terms of those making asylum seeker claims in Ireland, Georgian nationals have had the highest numbers of claims despite it being designated a "safe country of origin" by the Irish government. Asylum seekers have also been arriving from Nigeria, where 2,000 have arrived already this year, as well as Algeria, Somalia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. Countries that don't share customs or traditions with Ireland.

Serious concerns have also been raised about a large percentage of those asylum seekers being single men, that background checks have not been carried out on them and that they are loitering around towns and cities with nothing to do. 

"Some people get very upset when they hear it's just men because there's leaking footage from City West [hotel] in Dublin… of them just rioting inside the place. And, you know, last year it kicked off, around Ramadan, they were just rioting and throwing chairs at each other," Gunning says.

"So people feel frightened about that because ultimately these people are unvetted. You'll hear that they are vetted, they're not. Their fingerprints are run through this thing called Eurodac, which is not a criminal vetting system, it's just to see if they have made other asylum claims elsewhere or if they have been caught doing illegal border crossings. It doesn't have any criminal data to it at all."

"So the government consistently uses that to say that they're vetted when in fact they're not."

Gunning, who reports for, was at the scene of an ugly encounter two weeks ago when Irish police in riot gear clashed with locals of a small town who were protesting against plans to convert a shuttered care facility into a shelter for 160 male migrants.

The town, Newtownmounkennedy, is a typical rural community with a population of about 3,000 and is starved of services. Gunning says locals told her that the government promised them that the facility would be used as a much-needed community center for the town, while they were also concerned that the men are unvetted. 

Gunning says locals were also incensed that foreign men in masks were seen working on the site, leading to comparisons to the plantations of Ireland in the 1500s and 1600s when the British confiscated Irish-owned land and gave it to settlers. Hence, the "end the plantation" banner at the protest in Dublin on Monday.

After weeks of peacefully protesting and pleading with the government to reconsider, the riot police were deployed in Newtownmounkennedy to stamp out the demonstration. But the forcefulness of the response sent shockwaves through the community, which rallied in even bigger numbers in the days that followed.

In the end, it was all in vain as the first wave of migrants began arriving at the site around the same time as a migrant "tent city" of about 200 tents in nearby Dublin was being dismantled by the government. The tents were set up outside the country’s International Protections Office, which processes claims, and for many Irish people the tents became a visual example of the government's handling of the crisis. Many of the migrants have now set up their tents along Dublin's Grand Canal.

The situation at Newtownmounkennedy has been happening throughout Ireland and the locals, despite their protests, say they have no say in the matter. In some towns, local hotels have all been converted into migrant shelters, decimating tourist industries. 

Meanwhile, and just like in the U.S., some hoteliers and construction companies are profiting as government contracts ensure full occupancy and a steady stream of building work keeps the revenue flowing. 

"It’s just emerged that there was a whole estate being built without planning permission, and now they've filled that with international protection applicants," Gunning says. "So it's really crazy. And there's a lot of money being made here, an awful lot of money."

As the cries grow louder and the government refuses to change course, anger among demonstrators has exploded.

Some have protested outside the homes of the new prime minister, Richard Harris, and integration minister Roderic O’Gorman. The latter has been accused of making Ireland a popular magnet for migrants after he posted online a notice in eight different languages detailing the attractive benefits they will get if they claim asylum in Ireland. 

Members of Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee’s family were evacuated from their home last week following two hoax bomb threats. McEntee has faced tremendous pressure for her handling of the crisis due, in part, to the country’s low deportation numbers. 

For instance, McEntee recently revealed that of the nearly 7,300 people refused refugee status in Ireland since the beginning of 2023, less than 100 have been deported. She also said that more than 90% of people seeking asylum in the country are now crossing the land border with Northern Ireland amid the UK's clampdown on ineligible refugees via its Rwanda policy.

Who are these people flowing into the country and where are these people now, critics ask?

According to the government’s figures, 85% of people who applied for international protection at Dublin Airport in 2023 arrived without identity documents or with false identity documents, which is illegal, yet very few were even prosecuted. 

But the Irish government has long argued that it is bound by "international obligations" to accommodate those who arrive claiming asylum, while critics say the same level of urgency is not given to Irish people who are homeless. 


The European Union’s new Migration Pact is being held up as a silver bullet solution, a "game changer," according to McEntee, but some critics say it will only exacerbate the situation. The pact aims to cut the time for security and asylum procedures at external EU borders and increase the number of people being sent back to the Middle East and Africa.

"We always do the right thing [in Ireland], and for me, the right thing is providing protection for those who genuinely need it," McEntee said recently. "The world is a changing place, there’s significant increases in conflict across the globe, climate change is having a massive impact, and there are people who are genuinely fleeing starvation, persecution and war.

"I think as a country -- particularly people who have sought refuge in other countries over the years -- there is an onus on us and people want to us to provide that protection. And at the same time, those who are coming here seeking economic benefits, and we don’t blame them for that, this is not the right system to use."

Much of the despair and disillusionment of those on the right who oppose mass immigration is that they are not represented in the political process.

Fine Gael, McEntee’s party, is part of a coalition government in office since 2020 with Fianna Fáil and the Green Party. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil would once have been viewed as center-right but have shifted left and embraced progressivism and globalism.

Ireland’s main opposition party to the government, Sinn Féin, has been in lockstep with the establishment throughout the crisis, creating a void for a populist, nationalist movement. 

The result has been an explosion in novice candidates running for office in next month’s local and EU elections representing newly formed right-wing parties. 

It is, of course, unclear what kind of impact they can make. 

However, thrown into the mix is the fact that refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland are able to vote in local elections. 

An Irish migrant group bragged on X Thursday that it had just registered 1,500 asylum seekers to vote, all of whom the groups said, promised to vote for the government coalition partner the Green Party.

The elections take place June 7. 

Fox News Digital requested comment from Ireland’s prime minister, justice minister and integration minister, as well as the Irish Refugee Council, but did not receive any responses. 

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