He also confirmed that the initial plan was 70 males, then reduced to 33 males, and finally 13 females.A short interview with Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring was aired on the News at One on RTÉ Radio 1 today.
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Minister Ring said he was angry because he was not informed and criticised the lack of information and impliedly the lack of consultation with locals in Achill by the Department of Justice but he also said that an interdepartmental committee has been set up to tell people in future. It appears that his department was not advised of what was planned for Achill either.
He says that that now that people have been told, another group has been set up in Achill to welcome the asylum seekers.
He reiterates that the asylum seekers are fleeing from difficult situations and they don't want to be coming ( how that can be squared with An Taoiseach's comments recently is another matter) and we need to welcome them into this country but local communities that have been designated for receiving them need to be consulted and told.
He says the time has come for a debate on asylum seekers and immigration and that he is on everyone's side in this debate.
It seems to me from what he says that his call for an immigration debate is limited to asylum seekers and informing communities but you can form your own opinion on that.
Is Minister Ring, smart man that he is, with an eye to elections in the not too distant future and the prospect of further rebelliousness on the part of local communities, airing this now, to shore up support in Mayo for the traditional more conservative rural vote or is it a realisation that immigration is becoming a 'hot' topic for the ordinary electorate particularly in rural areas or a bit of a mix of everything.
The clip is short - less than 4 minutes but worth a listen.
That last figure was the one widely reported in the MSM, trying to hide the fact that Achill was to become the dumping ground for 70, and trying to place the wacist label on the good folk of Achill.