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Crowe - EU wants free movement of capital but not of people

2 March, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social and Family Affairs Seán Crowe TD has criticised the announcement by the Government of a series of restrictions aimed at blocking social welfare entitlements for immigrants from new EU member-states.

The Dublin South-West TD said:

"On May 1st, when the Government is supposed to welcome the new EU member states into the European Union, the shutters will come down and immigrants to this country will be ignored. The European Union seems ready to facilitate free movement of capital, but not of people.

"If someone comes to this state, gets a job, makes a positive contribution but then loses that job within the two year limit that the Minister has put in place, he or she is entitled to no unemployment assistance. The lack of other supports like Child Benefit or One Parent Family Payment means that families will have to be split up until newly arrived workers can save enough to send for their families. This is a story familiar to anyone who knows Irish history.

"I am calling on the Minister to rethink her decision. Instead of generously welcoming the new member states, we are to treat them as second class - thus the emergence of a new two-tier Europe. Sinn Féin argued during the Nice Treaty debates that the candidate countries would end up getting a bad deal. It is little comfort to be so right." ENDS

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