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Minister deliberately distorting the facts on Citizenship referendum

21 May, 2004

Speaking at the Sinn Féin citizenship referendum campaign launch Sinn Féin local election candidate Daithi Doolan said the Government had provided no evidence to support the rushing of the referendum. He accused Michael McDowell of "deliberately distorting the facts" and of "making it up as he goes along" to suit his own ideologically-driven position.

Mr. Doolan said,

"Ever since the referendum was proposed by the Minister for Justice one thing has been very clear. The Government has failed to provide any solid evidence to support it and when challenged they have constantly shifted their rationale for bringing it forward. First we were told it was because the Masters of the Maternity Hospitals had demanded it to prevent the collapse of the maternity services, but the Masters were quick to reject the Ministers claims. Then the Minister said it was a phenomenon of so-called citizenship tourism that was snowballing out of control. No sooner had his own Department's statistics disposed of this myth than he changed his position again. The next reason he gave was that we had to bring our laws into line with the EU but it transpired that there was no such request from anywhere in the EU. Then it was the Chen case, which, it should be pointed out, has not been finally concluded, so therefore the Minister is asking us to vote on a case on which there has been no outcome. It is clear that the Minister is making the stuff up as he goes along as he has done on other issues. It's a reflection of his arrogance and his dismissal of the intelligence of the Irish electorate that he is trying to railroad through this referendum.

"The Minister is not, as he may like to think, the most intelligent man on the island of Ireland. His judgement is not infallible. But he also is not above distorting the facts to fit his agenda. His use of aggregate statistics to bolster his arguments is disingenuous to say the least. As he has often done in other policy areas, he has also ignored other evidence and other facts that contradict his arguments. But the most fundamental distortion is in the false notion that immigrants are a net drain on resources. International evidence has shown that immigrants make a net contribution. Moreover we know that our economy needs immigrants and their children to slow the ageing of our population, a demographic trends which demonstrably does drain resources. It is time that the Minister told us the truth about immigration, because the Irish people are fed up to the teeth with his lies." ENDS

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