April 11, 2024
Helen McEntee using the EU’s Asylum and Migration Pact as a smokescreen for failing to do her job – Matt Carthy TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Matt Carthy TD, has said that no amount of spinning from Helen McEntee will change the fact that the vast majority of the EU’s Asylum and Migration Pact is not in Ireland’s interests.

He has said that Ireland can better create a fair, efficient and enforced immigration system by exercising its opt-out from a majority of the pact’s proposals.

Teachta Carthy said:

“Sinn Féin believe that Ireland needs a well-managed migration system that is fair, efficient and enforced. Helen McEntee and this government are failing on all counts.

“Our international protection system, in particular, is a shambles. Hundreds of asylum seekers are sleeping on the streets while communities have been antagonised by the government allowing private operators to make huge profits while the strains on local services are increased.

“No amount of spinning from Helen McEntee will change the fact that the vast majority of the EU’s Asylum and Migration Pact are not in Ireland’s interests.

“Ireland has the option to remain outside all or some of the seven measures.  We should utilise that option recognising that each Member State is different and faces different pressures at any given time. For example, the capacity constraints in terms of accommodation, health services and school places are particularly grave here in Ireland.

“Contrary to assertions from Minister McEntee, Sinn Féin support two measures that we believe are in the best interests of Ireland, which would aid us to transform our asylum system into one that is fair, efficient and enforced; namely the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation because it facilitates the return of people who seek to make an asylum application here to the first country where an international protection applicant has made a claim.

“We also support opting into the Eurodac Regulation because participation in this fingerprint database is necessary to conduct checks and vetting. 

“We oppose opting-into the remainder of the measures. 

“There’s nothing in these measures that Helen McEntee can’t do today. 

“If we follow the government’s approach and sign into them all en masse, we are handcuffing ourselves in terms of future flexibility.

“Nobody knows what the immigration situation will be in five years time, just as nobody predicted five years ago where it is today.

“The problem is that the ability of a future government to act will be impeded because we have signed into this pact. 

“Our nearest neighbour is not part of this pact, and therefore we need the flexibility, for good or bad to be able to move, to be able to determine what is in our best interests.

“Rather than address her failures, the Minister for Justice wants to outsource her job to the EU. It’s time for a change of approach.”

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