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McDonald urges Irish Government to lead the way on securing the rights of immigrants

10 February, 2004

Sinn Féin Dublin EU Candidate, Mary Lou McDonald today urged the Irish Government not to impose social welfare restrictions upon people coming to Ireland from the 10 accession states, which will join the EU on May 1st 2004.

Speaking today, Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Féin welcomes the enlargement of the EU to include the peoples of the 10 accession states and their access to the EU labour market. Sinn Féin also cautiously welcomes the decision by the Irish Government to extend social welfare benefits to citizens of the 10 states which will join the EU on May 1st.However, we call upon the Government not to curb or restrict access to peoples from the accession states, as we believe that this would be an infringement of their human rights and civil liberties, as expressed in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 45).

"Sinn Féin also note with concern, attempts by certain sections of the media and political establishment, to create a scare amongst the general public, that from May 1st 2004, Ireland will be flooded with 'fraudulent migrants'. Sinn Féin believes that such stories serve only to create stereotypes and a false impression of those seeking to come to Ireland.

"Enlargement of the EU is viewed by Sinn Féin as a positive development and migrants coming to Ireland from the accession states should be able to avail of the same entitlements as Irish migrants would claim, settling throughout the EU. During the Irish Presidency of the EU, the Irish Government must send out a clear message that xenophobia will not be tolerated, and migrants will be welcomed to Ireland, thus enriching cultural diversity within our society." ENDS

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