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Ó Snodaigh welcomes long-awaited publication of Immigration Bill

29 January, 2008 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD


Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus ÓSnodaigh TD has welcomed the long-awaited publication of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008. However, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said that unless the Bill reverses the substantial amount of damage contained in the 2007 Bill then this will be a wasted opportunity to comprehensively reform outdated and inadequate legislation.

Speaking today he said, "This is a very lengthy piece of legislation that will require careful scrutiny and debate, particularly in view of the shortcomings of its previous incarnation. I welcome its long-awaited publication and will be looking very closely to see if the serious concerns raised with regard to the 2007 Bill have been addressed and if the many very constructive submissions made on the Bill have been utilised.

"Unless this Bill reverses the substantial amount of damage contained in the 2007 Bill then this will be a wasted opportunity to comprehensively reform outdated and inadequate legislation.

"In the Programme for Government, the Government's stated aim was to set out 'in a clear and integrated approach the whole process for foreign nationals coming to the State'. The Bill proposed in 2007 was inherently lacking in the principles of transparency and accountability, did not address issues of major import, and failed to acknowledge existing international human rights obligations.

"The lack of accountability and transparency would create enormous difficulties for those administering and enforcing the legislation. Too much was left to individual discretion and unaccountable policy statements, rather than legislation.

"Unfortunately, the tone of the publicity surrounding the Bill does not offer much hope that this effort will be any more constructive or progressive than the last. It is being referred to as 'new legislation aimed at tightening Ireland's laws on immigration and asylum'.

"The concerns raised regarding the retention of overly broad ministerial discretion, the failure to address the issue of family reunification, the lack of regard for due process and transparency or protection for victims of trafficking, among many other issues, will have to be adequately addressed before this can be considered comprehensive reform or even 'good law'." ENDS

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