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Government intent on playing race card ahead of election

30 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has accused the Government of being ‘ruthlessly committed to exploiting, and creating, fears over immigration to Ireland for electoral benefit’. Restating Sinn Féin’s opposition to the introduction of bio-metric ID cards for non-EU nationals, he pointed to research in Britain that raised a number of concerns relating to European Convention on Human Rights.


The Dublin South-Central TD said: “In 2004 Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats combined to play the race card in the Local and European elections in the hope that it would prevent their collapse at the polls by proposing a referendum that, in defiance of the Good Friday Agreement and the principles of the 1916 Proclamation, stripped children born in Ireland of their citizenship.


“Reports that the Government intends to force non-EU nationals to carry bio-metric identification cards comes from a similar desperation to avert electoral defeat by playing the race card. These people, in Irelandlegally, are already obliged to register with the State. Biometric cards for non-EU nationals are unnecessary and discriminatory, and raise a host of civil liberties and privacy issues.


“Research carried out in Britain by the London School of Economics ahead of proposals to introduce biometric ID cards there found a number of potential violations of Article 8 (privacy) and Article 14 (discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights. They also estimated an approximate cost of almost €350 per person.


“No doubt, come the next election, politicians from Fianna Fáil and the PDs will pose for photographers while signing anti-racism pledges. But beyond the photo-ops is a Government ruthlessly committed to exploiting, and creating, fears over immigration to Ireland for electoral benefit.”



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