Protest nothing to do with CBRRC - says chair

This evening's protest against 120 refugees or asylum seekers being housed in Columb Barracks has nothing to do with the Columb Barracks Restoration and Regeneration Committee (CBRRC), its chairperson says.

Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner this morning, CBRRC chair Helen Donnelly says that the umbrella organisation representing the 30 community groups currently based in the barracks is not involved in any way with the protest that is scheduled to take place there at 7pm.

"The Columb Barracks Restoration and Regeneration Committee our main aim in all of this is to restore and regenerate Columb Barracks to its former glory and to do that in a positive and peaceful fashion so it's a good experience for everyone.

"We are totally inclusive. We respect every person who comes into the barracks and we will endeavour to do that into the future.

"We have nothing to do with assembly or protest. If further information comes to us we may well call a meeting some time in the future.

"We are more concerned with the groups in the barracks and making sure that they are represented correctly and that their place in the barracks is preserved now and into the future in a peaceful and orderly manner."

Ms Donnelly added that it's important that state officials consult with the CBRRC and its members before anyone is accommodated in the barracks.

"Columb Barracks is a peace centre. It is our greatest desire to keep it that way. Anything can be worked out through negotiation. We would call on those in authority to come and negotiate with us.

"In the EU directive in relation to displaced people coming to this country there is a section that explains that community consultation should take place.

"We believe that if this took place in all communities there would be no trouble and no strife."