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Sinn Féin calls for key EU asylum proposals to be scrapped

30 March, 2004

Sinn Féin Dublin EU candidate Mary Lou McDonald has today called on EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers to scrap an asylum proposal, which if passed, would no longer guarantee the right of asylum seekers to remain in the country of asylum whilst their applications were being processed.

Speaking as EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers meet in Brussels today, Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Féin are calling on the EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers, who are meeting in Brussels today, to reject a proposal which would seriously affect the rights of potential and current asylum seekers. This proposal would mean that asylum seekers - some of the most disadvantaged citizens in our society, would no longer be guaranteed asylum, whilst their applications were being processed.

"In effect, the proposal means that asylum seekers would be subject to an arbitrary decision by member states, which could see them deported at a moments notice. Many of the people who are seeking asylum are fleeing from poverty, famine and civil strife. To deny such a basic fundamental right to the most vulnerable would be a particularly cruel act.

"Sinn Féin is calling upon the government of this state, to use its influence through the Irish Presidency, to speak in favour of the protection of the rights of asylum seekers, and to oppose such a draconian proposal. However, we hold out little hope that this government will protect the rights of asylum seekers" ENDS

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