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Detention of non-nationals is effectively internment without trial

22 December, 2004

Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe has today said that the detention of non-nationals awaiting deportation was "effectively internment without trial" and "completely unjustified".

Speaking in Dublin this morning Deputy Crowe said: "The Irish Prison Service's latest annual report, published today makes for alarming reading. It shows that one-quarter of all people jailed in Ireland in 2003 were non-nationals. The vast majority of these were detained under immigration laws and were awaiting deportation. This is completely unjustified and is effectively internment without trial.

"Most immigrants come to Ireland in search of a better life for themselves and their families. The reaction of the Government and some elements of the media have been to portray them as spongers, criminals and welfare cheats. They are not criminals and have never been convicted of any criminal offence. Therefore they should not be held in criminal institutions.

"Sinn Féin believes that we should embrace our growing diversity as a source of strength, opportunity and economic dynamism. To do this we must begin by opposing racism, discrimination and intolerance of any kind, wherever it occurs. We must challenge the stigmatisation of non-nationals and of Irish citizens with non-national parents. The discriminatory and criminalisation policies of this Government against non-nationals must come to an end." ENDS

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