Sinn Féin’s Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has questioned the existence of the government’s National Integration Strategy. Speaking during debate on the issue Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:
“After a series of calls to the Minister’s office I eventually established that a National Integration Strategy, as in a formal policy document does not exist.
“In light of this, I think it’s fair to conclude the government’s integration policy amounts to an event here and there, and a lot of empty rhetoric.
“The reality is that nothing has changed for the almost five thousand people doomed to the ongoing nightmare of Direct Provision.
“And nothing has changed for the estimated thirty thousand undocumented people living and working in Ireland.
“The entire Direct Provision project is a costly and inhumane disaster and should be immediately phased out.
“Sinn Féin would begin the immediate phasing out of the system over a twelve month period.
“In the interim, oversight of the system should be given to the Ombudsman for Children and to the Office of the Ombudsman, with immediate effect.
“The Public Accounts Committee should be given responsibility for oversight of all financial transactions relating to the system.
“There should be an immediate move to self-catering as this would give some degree of dignity and autonomy to residents.
“Let us at least have the basic decency not to pretend that some fancy integration policy with all the right buzz words is a sign of our commitment to justice and fairness when it comes to asylum seekers and non EU immigrants.
“If we are to take ourselves seriously as legislators then there is an obligation on us to deal with the structural and institutional underbelly of immigration.
“It is disingenuous of us to pretend we care about abuses of human rights while at the same time we utilize the full rigours of the state to introduce draconian immigration legislation.”