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DUP needs to condemn representative's comments about local asylum seekers, says Dickson

The DUP needs to condemn comments by a local representative in relation to asylum seekers in Carrickfergus, Alliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson has said.

Mr Dickson was speaking following comments by DUP Councillor Marc Collins about a number of people who have been placed in the Loughshore Hotel in the town by the Home Office. Mr Dickson said it was particularly “vile” given the DUP’s backing of a Bill in Parliament which seeks to criminalise asylum seekers.

“The vile comments from the local DUP are especially disappointing, particularly coming in the week DUP MPs backed the shameful Nationality and Borders Bill in Parliament,” said Mr Dickson.

“The inaccurate and unhelpful statement from Councillor Collins has no basis in reality and instead just fosters an atmosphere of suspicion, an atmosphere which could lead to serious security issues, not just for the asylum seekers but their families remaining back in their countries of origin.

“The DUP leadership needs to come out and condemn those comments and those attitudes in the strongest possible terms. Instead of rhetoric about ‘our people’ they need to realise migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are our people. They are often fleeing persecution, suffering great loss and tragedy even trying to get here in the first place.

“I am delighted local people and groups are coming forward with offers of help and support for the people at the hotel. A measure of a society is how they treat their most vulnerable. Carrickfergus, East Antrim and indeed Northern Ireland is welcoming for those in need.”