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Minister's promises on Immigration Bill exposed as blatant lies

5 February, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD described the Minister for Justice's claim in the Dáil yesterday that the Immigration Bill was a temporary measure as "a blatant lie" following his refusal today to allow a Sinn Féin amendment which would give affect to that assertion. Deputy Ó Snodaigh was responding after the Minister refused to allow an amendment that would specify that the provisions were temporary and time limit the Bill until a comphrehensive, compassionate and human rights-compliant immigration legislation was brought before the house.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Yesterday, in defence of his blatantly undemocratic approach to ramming this Bill through the Oireachtas the Minister insisted he would accept some Opposition amendments to the Immigration Bill. He also insisted repeatedly that his Bill was to be a temporary measure pending the publication of the Immigration and Residence Bill later this year. It is clear now that the Minister's assertions yesterday were nothing more than blatant lies to cover up his failure to engage a proper and constructive consultation process on this issue.

"Sinn Féin along with other opposition parties as well as numerous human rights NGOs including the Human Rights Commission had very serious concerns and reservations about this draconian Bill. Today the Minister had an opportunity to address those concerns. However, in his usual arrogant manner he failed to do so and is railroading through a seriously flawed, unconstitutional Bill that violates our international obligations with regard to both refugees and migrants as well as the European Convention on Human Rights, and also has major implications for human rights in this state.

"It was once again evidence of the increasingly dictatorial nature of decision making by Ministers in this bankrupt Government. I will repeat my comments from yesterday that Minister McDowell and his Government are unfit to frame Irish immigration and asylum policy - much less the EU Common Migration and Asylum Policy."

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