Barracks protestors march to Market Square
Approximately 350 people turned out for a protest organised by ‘The Concerned Residents of Mullingar/ Mullingar Says No’ this evening.
They gathered at the gates of Columb Barracks, where a number of people addressed the crowd, mainly to outline concerns about plans to accommodate asylum seekers and refugees there.
Tents and prefab buildings to be installed at barracks
After about half an hour, the crowd marched in the Market Square.
The protest was peaceful and people lingered on the square and Oliver Plunkett Street, blocking traffic for a time.
In a prepared statement, ‘The Concerned Residents of Mullingar/ Mullingar Says No’ pointed out that details of what is planned for Columb Barracks were officially confirmed just this week.
The statement says: “We feel that this lack of communication and consultation is an outrage and a most disrespectful way for the government to deal with the electorate and citizens of Mullingar.
“We are entitled to know about significant changes being made to the use of Columb Barracks that affect the community and users of the campus.
“Many of the users of the campus are children and vulnerable adults. All employees and volunteers working with children or vulnerable adults in this country are garda vetted, yet the government want to impose 120 unknown, possibly undocumented, men, as residents, on the site at Columb Barracks.
“Notwithstanding that these men will have recently been through the IPAS registration process, we do not know what they might have done abroad or in some cases what their true identity might be.
“This is potentially a major security concern for the people of Mullingar, just as it continues to be for the people of Ireland generally.”
The statement acknowledged that the government had provided information - but said that the concerns of locals and the people of Mullingar generally have not been fully addressed.
‘The Concerned Residents of Mullingar/ Mullingar Says No’ called for all protests to be peaceful and lawful, and that they are being organised to give an opportunity for people to voice their concerns, and to assemble lawfully.