Migrant solidarity protest takes place on O’Connell street

Hundreds attended the solidarity march today in the wake of the Dublin riots last Thursday

A protest in solidarity with migrants has taken place today on O’Connell Street. 

The event was organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and saw hundreds of workers from different sectors in attendance.

The event saw short speeches being given by representatives of a variety of workers. This included a Romanian-born Irish man who spoke on behalf of Dublin Bus. 

Thursday night’s far right riots were condemned at the event. Speakers focused on a message of inclusion with ICTU General Secretary Owen Reidy saying “every worker has the right to go to work and come home safely, whoever they are and whatever job they do”.

General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association (INMO), Phil Ni Sheaghdha also spoke at the event saying: “We are thinking of all of the families and the children impacted by last Thursday’s attack.”

“We are absolutely dependent on migrant workers as a society, for our economy and in all of our services” she continued. 

Other speakers also expressed their best wishes to those who were injured in last Thursday’s knife attack which injured four. Brazilian national Caio Benicio was praised at the demonstration for responding to the initial attack. 

The event was also attended by a variety of politicians. Speaking to Trinity News People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said: “I think it’s important that workers stand together against people who try to stir up hate, division, and racism in our society. ” 

When asked about government’s response to last Thursday’s events, Labour Party TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin told Trinity News that “we need to tackle the far right, we need to provide a proper information stream about the reality of immigration, why it’s needed, why it’s important, and why it helps”. 

A large number of public servants were also in attendance including members of Dublin Fire Brigade. The event also saw a large Garda presence which resulted in the closure of O’Connell Street to public traffic. 

Speaking to Trinity News following the event, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President László Molnárfi said: “I think what we seen last week was a mob of angry people whipped up by fascists.”

“The only reason that the far right can push its agenda is because of decades of neoliberal economic policies” he continued. 

Following the demonstration the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) released a statement praising the rally. They said: “USI was proud to attend today’s rally, along with many students, to show that we condemn in the strongest terms, the racism that was on display last Thursday evening, and we will continue to work to end all forms of racism in our society.”

They said that the rally sends “an important message that Ireland is for all”. USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship, James Curry said: “All of our thoughts are with the five-year-old girl who remains in critical condition in hospital, and the whole school community at Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire, after last week’s horrific attack.”

“We also want to pay a special commendation to Caio Benicio, the Brazilian Deliveroo driver who stopped the assailant and put his life on the line to save other people, along with others that helped too.”

They condemned the riots labelling them as being “ led by the far right using the attack as a mechanism to spread racism and hate”.

“Before last week, the far-right was being pushed back as tens of thousands of people joined in solidarity marches for Palestine, and we must continue to do that.”

USI have pledged to “work to ensure that this hatred stays out of our campuses and that all students are able to be safe in this country”.

This article was updated at 12:37am on November 28 2023 to reflect that the László Molnárfi was speaking in his capacity as TCDSU President on the rally. Trinity News apologises for this minor error. 

Alan Nolan Wilson

Alan Nolan Wilson is the current News Analysis Editor of Trinity News, and a Junior Sophister Geography and History student. He previously served as Correspondent for College.