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Ó Snodaigh criticises “deeply flawed” immigration bill

6 October, 2010 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD


Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has criticised the “deeply and profoundly flawed” Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2010.

Speaking in the Dáil debate on the bill Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“The bill before us today is the third incarnation of the Immigration Residence and Protection Bill. Each time this bill has been re-published the Minister has taken out about 5% of the objectionable provisions and kept the rest more or less intact. At this rate, in nineteen years we might get an immigration bill that could be welcomed by Sinn Féin. This is not that bill.

“The bill retains the three most serious flaws of its predecessors. The first is the provision for summary deportation, which allows for a foreign national to be removed from the state on the basis of a Garda’s opinion that he or she is unlawfully present. It is obvious that there is potential here for mistakes of enormous proportions.

“The second serious flaw is the vast amount of Ministerial discretion the bill allows. It gives statutory approval to the arbitrary and ad hoc nature of the current system, which leaves people confused about their rights and entitlements and subjects them to wildly inconsistent decisions. A glaring omission is the ‘visibly independent appeals process’ promised in the Programme for Government.

“The provisions dealing with victims of trafficking are also flawed. Victims are not allowed to apply for recognition as trafficked persons nor can they challenge a decision to refuse them recognition. This section also continues the approach of tying victims’ protection to their willingness to assist in prosecution. Victim protection should be aimed at addressing a person’s needs.”

Deputy Ó Snodaigh also criticised the lack of provision for family reunification, permanent residency and legal aid for domestic violence victims and concluded by stating, “We are all in agreement over the need to reform our immigration system. But we must reform it in a way that is fair, transparent, constitutional and consistent with our international obligations. It is the right thing to do, it will save the state money on court challenges and it will save the need for further amending legislation to fix all the problems this bill will create.” ENDS

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