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de Brún expresses concern over John Reid,s remarks on migrants

19 September, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has this afternoon expressed her disappointment and concern at remarks made by British Home Secretary John Reid who hinted that the work rights of migrants from both Bulgaria and Romania could be restricted when, most likely, both countries join the EU in 2007.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"Britain, Ireland and Sweden were the only EU member states not to place restrictions when ten new member states joined the EU in 2004. Many of the same arguments were put forward at that time but since then other countries have moved to adopt our position. Sinn Féin is in favour of the free movement of workers right across the EU and would argue that this should inform decisions by both the British and Irish governments in the time ahead.

"The Irish experience of immigration has been overwhelmingly positive with migrant workers contributing to society culturally and economically. It is to be regretted that much of the political and media commentary surrounding migrant workers is designed to feed into a negative perception of migrants - the vast majority of whom just want to earn an honest living across the EU.

"John Reid's comments are unfortunate and his use of language is of concern. Mr Reid was quoted as saying 'We need to consider carefully all of the implications of the accession of new states and ensure we have all the necessary safeguards in place to reassure the public'‚ the implication being that the British public needs to be protected from migrant workers.

"It is important that we embrace those who come to Ireland to work in the same way as an Irish worker would expect to be treated when they go abroad to work. It is time that we begin to view the contributions made by migrant workers as a positive rather than a negative contribution to our society." ENDS

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