The government and the people of Ireland continue to treat asylum seekers and refugees “like aliens”.

That is according to the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI), which is calling for greater integration of refugees upon their arrival.

The criticism comes after a protest in East Wall, Dublin, yesterday, which hundreds attended.

Locals claimed that they were not consulted about the opening of a new refugee accommodation centre in the area – and some are not happy about it.

“It’s not like they come from the moon.”

MASI spokesperson Bulelani Mfaco said that he can understand why communities get frustrated when they’re not consulted, but he’s urging them to direct their annoyance at the government and not at refugees.

“There are concerns that aren’t really concerns”, he said.

“When people, for instance, talk about a group of men moving into their neighbourhood, where are they expecting them to live?”

“It’s not like they come from the moon.”

“It’s not aliens that we’re talking about, it’s human beings who need safety.”

He wants Irish people to see that refugees have the same needs as them.

“The government has been handling this all horribly.”

Like East Wall locals, MASI is also hitting out at the government for not liaising properly with communities.

Mr Mfaco has lived in Ireland for seven years.

“I don’t recall ever at any point where the government consulted people before I moved into any community.”

“The government has been handling this all horribly because they’ve started the othering process the minute a person lands at Dublin airport seeking asylum.”

“That’s when they take them and segregate them and put them in a congregated setting rather than integrating people.”

Main image shows arrivals at Dublin Airport. Picture by: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie