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Just this once is not good enough Minister

25 March, 2005

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, referring to the decision by the Minister for Justice to allow Olunkunle Eluhanla to return to sit his leaving certificate, has said, "Just this once is not good enough minister." Deputy Ó Snodaigh has also called for an all Ireland immigration policy and for hate crime legislation to be harmonised to tackle the "alarming and unacceptable rise in racist hate crime" that we have seen across the island over the last decade.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "The recent case of Leaving Cert student Olunkunle Eluhanla highlights the very real injustices that exist in relation to the Dublin Governments policy of mass deportation of immigrants. While the Ministers U-turn is welcome it is no substitute for a fundamental review of the whole policy.

"Just this once is not good enough Minister, there were many other people deported in the last week who should also be allowed to return and have their cases reviewed on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. We need a full investigation and report on the human rights implications of this policy by the Human Rights Commission."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh went on to say, "In both parts of this island we have seen an alarming and unacceptable rise in racist hate crime over the past decade. This rise in racism is blighting our society and bringing shame on our nation. It is an island-wide problem, and it needs an island-wide solution.

"We need to significantly strengthen the hate crime legislation in both jurisdictions. We propose that it should be harmonised. Indeed, the Good Friday Agreement commitments to equivalent human rights protections north and south require this. Incitement to hatred legislation is presently under review in the 26 Counties but this has become stalled under the present Minister for Justice, for whom fighting racism is not a political priority.

"In addition, the fact that two different immigration systems operate on the island is causing all kinds of unnecessary problems and heartache. Sinn Féin also believes that the island should have one immigration policy, and this should be positive, compassionate, human rights-compliant and anti-racist." ENDS

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