Cork locals hold rally to welcome refugees and asylum seekers

Cork locals held a rally recently to show their support for refugees and asylum seekers living in the accommodation centre in the town of Fermoy.

Cork locals hold rally to welcome refugees and asylum seekers.

Approximately 300 Cork locals attended the rally in Fermoy to show solidarity and support.

They welcomed the 66 refugees and asylum seekers who recently arrived at the accommodation centre as international protection (IP) applicants.

Currently, 19 families, 25 children, and eight single women live at the St Joseph’s Convent in Fermoy.

In response to the anti-refugee protest – Cork locals hold rally to welcome refugees and asylum seekers

The solidarity rally took place in response to the anti-refugee protest, which occurred three days prior and involved dozens of people who were against the refugees and asylum seekers being hosted in the Fermoy accommodation centre.

People of all ages gathered at the solidarity rally, with those in attendance holding banners and chanting, “refugees welcome, asylum seekers welcome”. Local musicians were also in attendance, singing the refrain “everyone deserves a home”.

Kate O’Connell, who helped organize the rally, welcomed refugees and asylum seekers to Fermoy, Co. Cork, and said that her message would be, “If you live here, you belong here. Fermoy is your home”.

While a small number of people who attended the anti-refugee protest showed up again on Saturday in an attempt to disrupt things, several gardaí were in attendance, so the rally passed without incident.

Conveying a clear message – welcome to all

They are conveying a message that all are welcome.
Credit: Twitter / @EmmanuelKuffo15

Maggie Blackley, who lives outside Fermoy town and attended Saturday’s rally, said she did not want the false message that the “town is closed to refugees and asylum seekers” to be conveyed.

She also urged other communities dealing with similar protests to hold counter rallies to show their support for refugees and asylum seekers.

“The people of Fermoy didn’t like that message, and we knew that the people who brought the message to Fermoy were not from here.

“All we had was 36 hours to figure out how to say, ‘that isn’t Fermoy; Fermoy is welcoming’. We decided to stand here holding banners to say that ‘that isn’t us. This is us.’ We want our society to be open and welcome and charitable,” Blackley explained.

Hosting Ukrainian nationals – a gift that broadens your world

Blackley herself has four Ukrainian nationals staying in her home, and she described the experience of hosting them as a “gift” which has helped to broaden her world.

“We have two of the nicest 35-year-old mothers who are best friends, and they each have a little boy. The little boys are seven and five.

“We couldn’t have nicer people in our home. We will be the great beneficiaries of the time we have spent together. It broadens your world. It is heart-warming,” Blackley revealed.

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