NI political parties need to unite to condemn protests outside a North Down hotel hosting asylum seekers, says Muir

Alliance North Down MLA Andrew Muir was speaking following a second protest in a fortnight outside the Bangor Hotel. Pictures from social media showed a number of masked people, including children, standing outside the hotel with banners on Friday (March 17).

Stephen Farry Andrew Muir Connie Egan North Down

It was concerning to once again see a protest outside this hotel, which is home to people seeking asylum and who have been warmly welcomed by the vast majority of people in Bangor,” said Mr Muir.


It’s vitally important all local political representatives stand united and call for an end to these protests. I urge my fellow MLAs and local Councillors to join Alliance in condemning both the protests themselves and the attitudes which lead to them in the first place. It is not acceptable to see this happening, especially in a place as welcoming as North Down.


These protests have the real potential to cause intimidation and fear to the asylum seekers staying in the hotel, using the usual dangerous tropes about refugees. The social media commentary relating to the protests has also been deeply disappointing and disturbing, with a number of comments now being reported to police as a result.”


It was deeply concerning to see a number of masked people protesting outside the hotel during the latest protest,” added North Down MLA Connie Egan.


It was particularly sinister to see masked children amongst the crowd. Those there do not represent the city of Bangor, North Down or indeed the wider community in Northern Ireland, who are welcoming to refugees and any others who decide to make the area their home.


I reiterate the call for all local parties to unite and send out a strong message, condemning those protesting and showing support to those who need it the most.”


The refugees in Bangor and elsewhere in Northern Ireland are fleeing from war and persecution,” added North Down MP Stephen Farry.


It is appalling the way they are being demonised. The Home Office's own figures show the vast majority of asylum claims are actually granted. So, in other words, they are genuine refugees.


Most local people understand this and want to welcome refugees with compassion to our city.”