Comment: That's one way to do it: just stop cooperating with the loons in the capitals...

Mayo Co Council Building, Ireland
Mayo Co Council Building, Ireland
A meeting of Mayo County Council has unanimously passed a motion calling on its staff to "immediately" cease all cooperation with Department of Integration, until an agreed strategy is in place regarding the housing of migrants seeking asylum in the county.

At yesterday's meeting of the Council a cross-party motion which stated that 'all co-operation ceases immediately, between the staff of Mayo County Council and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth of Ireland, until such time as an agreed strategy is put in place to properly co-ordinate the provision of additional services for the communities hosting refugees and international protection applicants', was approved.

Proposing the motion, Castlebar-based Independent councillor, Michael Kilcoyne, said councillors had no say in who arrives in Mayo or where they stayed - and claimed that those claiming asylum were being treated better than Irish people. It was time Irish people started to come first, he said, according to Mayo News.

"These are serious issues, and we are doing our best to resolve these issues, and to a certain extent we don't know what is happening. We are not told what is happening until the last minute. Sometimes we are not told until it happens. We are extremely concerned, and that is why we are bringing forward this motion to try and make some progress on it. At the end of the day, we don't have a say - if we had things would be different," he said.

Fine Gael councillor Peter Flynn also proposed an amendment, again carried by the Council members, which said:

'Mayo County Council requests the Irish Government to revoke the European Union (Planning and Development) (Displaced Persons from Ukraine Temporary Protection) Regulations 2022' and that 'Mayo County Council encourages government to utilise lands where planning permission has been granted but no works have taken place to erect modular or prefabricated housing for the accommodation needs of refugees fleeing wars and Irish people requiring affordable accommodation'.

He said that 'faceless speculators' who 'do not give a damn' about communities were seizing the opportunity to make large profits, Mayo News said.

Protests were held at the weekend by local people over the possibility of erecting modular homes at Castlemacgarrett near Claremorris, Cllr Flynn said., adding that he would join people protesting if plans for migrant centres went against the wishes of the community.
"It is breaking down the fabric of Irish society," he said. "People are concerned and don't want to see single males outside our schools and around creches and around our parks where they go for walks and don't feel safe. You only have to think about other areas where these problems have arisen, and people are aware of these problems.

"The whole country is sick with what is going on and as far as I am concerned enough is enough. I understand the concerns of the people, and we echo the concerns of the people. We are going to protest at the venues and make our voice heard for the people. If we make enemies from that, that is good, because we have stood up for something in our lives."
Fianna Fáil councillor Damien Ryan, who seconded the primary motion, was sharply critical of what he saw as the Department's lack of communication and collaboration.

"As a county we have played our part and the absence of a strategy has created a problem nationwide and not just in this county. A strategy is needed and needed very quickly, and the department can roll it out quickly," he said, criticising the department's lack of communication and collaboration,"

He said the poor communication would lead to discourse where refugees were being blamed for the flaws in government strategy.

Other Councillors argued that Mayo had taken more than its fair share in contrast to other counties and that the services were not there to support new arrivals and the existing population.

Fine Gael councillor Ger Deere urged against misinformation, saying: "There is an awful lot of misinformation out there and an awful lot of misinformation here today, and it is naturally creating a degree of fear and anxiety. There has to be a proper communication strategy... There is an onus on the Government to do that," he said.

Mayo News said:
Kevin Kelly, Chief Executive of Mayo County Council told the meeting that the reason there were a lot of refugees arriving into Mayo was because property was being made available to house them. He added that when it comes to government policy he does not have the leeway to ignore it, but he said he would forward the motion to the relevant government minister.
Last November, the County Council heard that Mayo has taken in 5,304 refugees, which is just short of 4% of the county's population, since March 2022, while the national average was 2.27% at that time.