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Ó Laoghaire to Government: You know that it is perfectly within your capacity to take 200 minors from Calais

2 November, 2016 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, spoke in the Dáil this evening on the statements on Calais. He spoke in support of the “Not on Our Watch” campaign which is calling on the government to take 200 undocumented minors.

He said:

“The discussion around migrants sometimes, unfortunately arrives at a negative, spiteful, and even hateful conclusion. It occasionally arrives at the statement that ‘We should look after our own first.’

“It were as if these refugees were cattle, were swine, were something other than human, something other than human flesh and blood - Something unworthy of mercy or help or humanity in the hour of their greatest need.

The truth is that they are our own, they are human flesh and blood like us.

“What is more that as a emigrant people, who fled misery and oppression for generations, we should understand what it is to see no future in staying, only misery, and traveling half way across the world for a future.

“What is being sought by campaigners here tonight, at the rally outside and in the public gallery, is very modest indeed. Two hundred children is small sum. An amount that could fit in this room with some comfort. An amount that we are so capable of accommodating in this state. I want to hear the Government tell us tonight if it will do that or not. The Government may seek to provide all sorts of reasons why we cannot do it.

“There is a film in the cinema at the moment, I, Daniel Blake, by the Director Ken Loach. At the heart of the narrative, is that Bureaucracy is not simply an accident, Bureaucracy can be part of a policy, it can often be deliberately constructed to prevent, to block, and to delay. Do not use Bureaucracy to delay or frustrate an action that you know, that you know, is perfectly possible, is perfectly within your capacity.”

After the statements, The Cork-South Central TD stated:

“I was quite disappointed by the government's statements this evening, completely non-committal and lacking in empathy.

“This was the government’s opportunity to put words into action. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t happen.

“I will now go back and consult with my colleagues across all parties in opposition and a motion will be brought before the house in the hope of putting further pressure on the cabinet. This issue will not go away. I hope the government see the error of its ways on this issue as a matter of urgency.

“We’ve stood by and watched this crisis manifest for far too long.We cannot let this government make Ireland part of Fortress Europe. We must open Ireland's doors.”

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