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Government colluding in European refugee catastrophe – Adams

22 March, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Speaking during this morning’s statements in the Dáil on Europe, and specifically on the issue of refugees, the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams TD called on the government to send an Irish Naval Vessel to the Mediterranean; criticised the government’s endorsement of the EU deal with Turkey; and its failure to relocate the 4000 refugees it said it would accept.

Deputy Adams said:

“Since Sunday, all so-called ‘irregular migrants’ that arrive in Greece are supposed to be sent back to Turkey, a country with a deplorable human rights record and a history of discriminating against minorities. The Taoiseach and government agreed to this.

“Over 800,000 people landed on Greek islands last year. The government now believes that Greece can rapidly set up a functioning and quality refugee screening programme, while 2,000 people a day continue to arrive on makeshift boats from Turkey.

“We are also being told that there will be no mass expulsions and that international and European law will be respected. But that is exactly what this agreement will lead to.

“The government is ignoring the concerns of notable human rights organisations, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and Oxfam who accused the EU of ‘trading human beings for political concessions’. Trading refugees to Turkey, a country the EU has defined as a Safe Country of Origin despite the mass human and civil rights violations that are being committed there, is a matter of deep concern.

“The EU’s response to the refugee crisis has been totally inadequate, and the Irish government is colluding in this.

“Last year, the agreed plan was to relocate 160,000 refugees from Greece and Italy to other EU countries and that this State would take in 4,000 refugees. To date, only 885 people have been relocated to other European States and only a handful have been relocated here.

“This government is failing to meet the challenge of one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes of recent decades.

“The latest decisions of the European Council are a direct contravention of the founding principles of the EU which are supposed to protect human rights. The Irish government is now supporting the deportation of vulnerable and desperate men, women and children to the lowest bidder.

“Finally, Irish Naval vessels engaged in humanitarian actions in the Mediterranean last year saved over 8,000 lives. Each day, more refugees continue to drown. The government should now reallocate an Irish naval vessel to the region.” 

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