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Family reunification policies inconsistent, non-transparent and absurd - Ó

29 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on the Minister for Justice to act urgently to address the State's "inconsistent, non-transparent and downright absurd family reunification policies." Deputy Ó Snodaigh made his call following the publication of the Immigrant Council of Ireland's document Family Matters: Experiences of Family Reunification in Ireland.

The Dublin South Central TD said, "The report paints a picture of an immigration system in complete disarray where family reunification procedure is concerned. It is ludicrous that statutory rights exist for refugees and non-Irish EU citizens but not for Irish citizens, non-EU migrant workers or the parents of Irish children.

"Furthermore, whatever guidelines may exist in relation to these latter categories are clearly not being applied with any consistency or regard for the human rights of these Irish residents and their families.  Current policies are in direct conflict with the 1937 Constitution, which specifically protects the right to family life.

"I am particularly concerned with those Government policies which result in a forced separation between parents and their minor children, such as the refusal to grant residency to children whose parents have availed of the Irish Born Child scheme.  This policy clearly puts us in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that a child shall not be separated from their parents unless it is in the child's best interest.  Also of concern are the lack of protections for women fleeing abusive partners, for children who have reached adulthood while waiting for their applications to be processed and the total absence of provision for unmarried and same sex partners and for elderly parents.

"The upcoming Immigration and Residency Bill, long promised, must be brought forward for consideration and debate as a matter of priority.  In the meantime, Minister McDowell should institute immediately those changes which do not require legislation, in order to address the inconsistent, non-transparent and downright absurd procedures currently in place." ENDS

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