Fascists fail to stir hate as Ballaghaderreen says welcome to refugees

  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: SELECT data, created, headers, expire, serialized FROM cache_views_data WHERE cid = 'audio:block_1:results:ff0db4c55a037059c3695f66cdcd5d34' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 27.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:3:{s:6:\"result\";a:6:{i:0;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"5943\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:82:\"IT workers and struggles in work over time - 3rd Rethinking Revolution discussion\";s:7:\"_random\";s:21:\"0.0013654297230443263\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8699\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:101:\"Yellow Vests - People are ready to go onto the streets because they have nothing else to lose - audio\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.004871642221577132\";}i:2;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"5818\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:57:\"Shell retreats as solidarity with Pat O\'Donnell continues\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.006657565950097112\";}i:3;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"5075\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:69:\"The politics of direct action and the struggle of the Visteon workers\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.008286513395874308\";}i:4;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8023\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:94:\"Self organising and the city - Squatting panel at Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2015 video & audio\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.013594810863579448\";}i:5;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7275\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:105:\"Old Media In the Age of The Internet - Why Bother With Radical and Underground Publishing - Video & audio\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.030353449313299218\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:166;s:5:\"pager\";a:5:{s:9:\"use_pager\";s:1:\"0\";s:14:\"items_per_page\";i:6;s:7:\"element\";i:0;s:6:\"offset\";i:0;s:12:\"current_page\";i:0;}}', created = 1565293138, expire = 1565293438, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'audio:block_1:results:ff0db4c55a037059c3695f66cdcd5d34' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: SELECT data, created, headers, expire, serialized FROM cache_views_data WHERE cid = 'video:block_1:results:d1bd4a9bdf0c592395306e39f5452d02' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 27.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:3:{s:6:\"result\";a:3:{i:0;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8026\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:79:\"Migration State Racism and Anti Racism Organising - video of panel at DABF 2015\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.003914726901720024\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7690\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:53:\"Dublin demonstration in solidarity with Gezi Istanbul\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.008126419045148808\";}i:2;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7382\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:80:\"Hundreds of Garda deployed to protect Shell\'s machine from the people of Ireland\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.008548825055871928\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:195;s:5:\"pager\";a:5:{s:9:\"use_pager\";s:1:\"0\";s:14:\"items_per_page\";i:3;s:7:\"element\";i:0;s:6:\"offset\";i:0;s:12:\"current_page\";i:0;}}', created = 1565293138, expire = 1565293438, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'video:block_1:results:d1bd4a9bdf0c592395306e39f5452d02' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: SELECT data, created, headers, expire, serialized FROM cache_views_data WHERE cid = 'Random_PDF:block_1:results:d701b49486a84d4cd29efe1b1fbdd8e3' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 27.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:3:{s:6:\"result\";a:2:{i:0;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7781\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:25:\"Irish Anarchist Review 9 \";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:2965:\"<div>\r\n <img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/IAR%209%20cover.jpg\" style=\"width: 300px; float: right; height: 371px\" />\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">Welcome to Issue nine of the Irish Anarchist Review, published for the 2014 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair.</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">&nbsp;</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">&nbsp;</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">EDITORIAL:&nbsp;</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">&nbsp;</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\"><span id=\"docs-internal-guid-190bca18-63de-9052-6ec9-e71bba2d1e54\"><span style=\"background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial; white-space: pre-wrap; color: rgb(0,0,0); font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline\">We&#39;ve been hearing scare stories about the damage being done to the environment by co2 emissions for decades now. Terms like &ldquo;climate change&rdquo;, &ldquo;greenhouse effect&rdquo;, &ldquo;the ozone layer&rdquo; (more importantly, the holes in the ozone layer) and &ldquo;global warming&rdquo;, are part of everyday language. We know that the polar ice caps are melting, causing sea levels to rise and we know that the weather is doing crazy things in parts of the world that are usually temperate. And, we know that all this is being caused by the stuff we produce and how we produce it. What has our response been?</span></span></p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">&nbsp;</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">&nbsp;</p>\r\n <br />\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\"><span id=\"docs-internal-guid-190bca18-63de-9052-6ec9-e71bba2d1e54\"><span style=\"background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial; white-space: pre-wrap; color: rgb(0,0,0); font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline\">By and large, we&#39;ve done nothing. In fact we&#39;ve done the opposite. We&#39;ve continued to create stuff. More and more stuff. We produce enough food to feed the world at least twice over and a third of it is wasted. We produce gadgets we don&#39;t really need, war machines to subjugate people, we plan obsolescence so that we have to keep producing things to replace other things so that the wheels of the global economy keep turning and profit keeps accumulating. Billions of humans, across the planet, spend a large chunk of every day, doing things they&#39;d prefer not to to produce things they don&#39;t need in a process that is making the planet unfit for their habitation.</span></span></p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">&nbsp;</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.027147049109588425\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7879\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:84:\"The 3 things you can do to defeat the water charges - Don\'t Pay - Protest - Organise\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:1006:\"<p><img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/Water%20Charges%20WSM%20leaflet.jpg\" style=\"width: 300px; height: 425px; float: right;\" />There is massive opposition across the country to the government&rsquo;s attempt to impose water charges on us. Not least because we already pay for water through our taxes.&nbsp; This is simply yet another austerity tax.&nbsp; We have put up with years of austerity, cutbacks and extra taxes &ndash; all imposed on us to pay off the gambling debts of bankers and financial speculators. Hundreds of thousands of people are now saying &lsquo;No More!&rsquo;.<br />\r\n <br />\r\n People also realise that this is an attempt to prepare our water service for privatisation, which will ultimately end in multinational companies owning it, charging us exorbitant prices and making super profits.<br />\r\n <br />\r\n But we don&rsquo;t have to accept this new charge.&nbsp; We CAN defeat it.&nbsp; To achieve that, there are a few things which we will all have to do:<br />\r\n &nbsp;</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:7:\"_random\";s:19:\"0.03589043862734962\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:73;s:5:\"pager\";a:5:{s:9:\"use_pager\";s:1:\"0\";s:14:\"items_per_page\";i:2;s:7:\"element\";i:0;s:6:\"offset\";i:1;s:12:\"current_page\";i:0;}}', created = 1565293138, expire = 1565293438, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'Random_PDF:block_1:results:d701b49486a84d4cd29efe1b1fbdd8e3' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
Date:

The small town of Ballaghaderreen recently found out that it would be welcoming some 82 refugees in the near future.  About half of these are minors and most of those are under 12 including 13 under the age of 4.  There were the predictable attempts by neo-nazis to whip up hate online and someone even distributed about 80 British fascist leaflets in the town.  But rather than hate taking hold the town held a standing room only welcoming meeting last Thursday.  We asked one of the organisers, Jessamine O Connor,  to tell us how this happened.

Solidarity Times: How did you hear the refugees would be coming to Ballaghaderreen?
Jessamine: News broke in Ballaghaderreen on Friday morning, through the national press, that the town would be receiving about 80 refugees at some unspecified date in the next few weeks. This was a shock, as it had apparently not been discussed with the local schools, doctors, or other service providers. The initial response was negative; many people were fearful, confused, and of course some were angry or simply racist. The atmosphere looked like it could go either way, and the radio seemed to be ramping it up with very aggressive coverage.

Solidarity Times: You decided to do something about that, how did you organise the meeting?
Jessamine: It was a simple thing to ring around, get a few people on side and book a venue. We called a meeting for the Monday night, for those who wanted to welcome the refugees and help them when they got here. We stated at the outset that this meeting would only be to come up with ideas for how best to help the people when they arrived, and not to discuss the government’s strategy of placing refugees in a small town –population about 1800- which was recently named the most disadvantaged town in Connaught. We made it clear that we would not entertain any negative comments about refugees, or be hosting politicians on a soapbox.

Solidarity Times: Did you get a good response from people living in the town?
Jessamine: Interest in the meeting soared, thanks largely to the internet, and by the Monday we had already spoken to nearly every local and national radio station about our intention to warmly welcome Syrian people to town.

We held the event, under the title “Ballaghaderreen Welcomes Refugees” (to be clear!) in Spell’s Rum+Black Music Club, and ten minutes in it was packed beyond capacity. I briefly restated our purpose, and reminded the media that there would be no drama or debate; that we were solely solution focused, and then Debbie Beirne facilitated. We had Jenny and Derek Graham (from No More Borders No More Tears) speaking about their experience of the refugee camps in Greece, and really positive contributions from members of the community, all offering to help in whatever way they could.

Solidarity Times: Whats going to happen next?
Jessamine: We passed around sheets for people to leave their contact details, and skills they might be able to volunteer at a later date. We were overwhelmed by the support, and counted over 100 names just there alone. We have been inundated with offers from further afield of practical assistance at different stages, and pledges of items and services if they are needed.

We are compiling a mini-directory for the new arrivals, of local businesses and individuals who can offer free services, and will be setting up a “Failte Isteach” conversational English class in the town before they arrive. This class will be for all residents of the area who want to improve their English, so will benefit members of our large Pakistani community and others, as well as the native volunteers.

Solidarity Times: What about people who want to find out more or even get involved?
Jessamine: We are a grassroots community group, with no political or religious affiliation, going under the name “Welcome To Roscommon” for now, and you can find us on facebook, or email  ballaghwelcome@gmail.com

Photo: Leah

Like what you're reading?
Find out when we publish more via the
WSM Facebook
& WSM Twitter