A recent photo of the tents in Columb Barracks.

'Homeless Irish' should be housed in tents at Columb Barracks - CBRRC

"Homeless Irish" should be housed in tents at Columb Barracks alongside the International Protection (IP) applicants due to arrive in the coming days, according to the Columb Barracks Restoration and Regeneration Committee (CBRRC).

In a joint letter signed by 22 representatives from the different community and sporting groups based in the barracks, the CBRRC have criticised the government for a failure to consult with them ahead of the arrival of the IP applicants.

They also said that "homeless Irish" should be accommodated in tents alongside IP applicants.

“We support equal rights for everyone in our community but we fear we are not being treated with equality which begs the question: why are our rights being ignored while the rights of others are given priority?

“In the barracks we fear our new visitors will outnumber our clients, creating imbalance and ultimately, inequality. To alleviate this inequality and discrimination against our own population, we would advise that homeless Irish would be homed alongside our visitors. This would also provide a good opportunity for integration and education about Irish culture.

“...We are not a political entity and we have not objected to anything. We are people who believe in equity and respect for all but not at the cost of disharmony in our community barracks. We simply want answers to our questions. We feel disrespected and infantilised by the communications we have received and we know we wouldn’t even have had these communications if we had not asserted ourselves.

“We put forward our view of integration to our three local TDs , where we outlined a reasonable plan. This would alleviate the tensions and concerns of the barracks residents and the wider community of Mullingar.

“We are aware that these displaced people are likely traumatised as our own homeless people are. We are happy to reach out with a warm welcome to help in orientation to life in Ireland, which should also include our own displaced people.

“Should these people have gainful occupation using our services within the barracks, even in the short term, we know this would be beneficial to their physical and mental health. It would also divert them from becoming targets for anti-social behaviour.

“We are happy to live alongside any community but the key to social harmony is respectful communication and that is sadly lacking at this point in time. We appeal to the powers that be to clearly communicate with us and negotiate the terms going forward with the housing of displaced people in the centre of the barracks. We believe all displaced people should be given sanctuary, including our Irish homeless. We can see a future for the barracks where it can house all vulnerable people, regardless of nationality and provide services and support to help them integrate into wider society.”