Protests pushing immigration onto the election agenda

The recent ramping up of unrest could have big implications at the ballot box next year

Protesters outside the Achill Head Hotel, opposing the arrival of asylum seekers in a direct provision facility inside the hotel Pictures: Michael Dillon

Fine Gael has a reputation for preferring to use the private sector rather than the public one to solve its political problems.

For many years, the official thinking behind the rental of disused hotels for direct provision was that it gave the state flexibility. If the asylum seeker numbers dropped, then the contract could be ended and there would be no ‘white elephant’ building left behind.

Due to the resistance to proposed direct ...