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Minister accused of hypocrisy when it comes to asylums seekers – Ó Clochartaigh

2 December, 2015

Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has accused the Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald of hypocrisy and duplicity when it comes to asylum seekers and Direct Provision. Speaking during debate on the International Protection Bill 2015, Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:

“Sinn Féin has huge concerns around major aspects of this bill.

“While we  welcome a single procedure that will deal with people in an efficient and timely way, we cannot and will not support a bill that is a step backwards in terms of the human rights of immigrants and asylum seekers.

“It is baffling that the Minister and her department have chosen to ignore the recommendations of the Government’s own Working Group on the Protection Process.

“The Group made almost 170 recommendations and yet tonight we have before us a bill which takes by the government’s own estimation just 26 on board.  

“I am also alarmed that the democratic procedures required for effective scrutiny are being ignored in the speed with which this bill is being rushed through the Houses.

“Absolutely no heed has been paid to the very grave concerns expressed by NGO’s such as NASC, the Irish Refugee Council, The Children’s Rights Alliance, Spirasi, and others about the bill.  

“At best the bill is a work of gross incompetence and at worst is betrays a total and utter disregard for the weakest in society.

“This bill is not fit for purpose and is a rolling back of previous protections provided for in the Asylum Act of 1996.

“A major point is that the bill does not address the totally unacceptable and discredited Direct Provision system itself.  It merely purports to attempt to shorten the time of incarceration.

“This totally disregards previous Seanad debates, the Working Group, the Oireachtas Public Service Oversight and Petitions Committee, the Ombudsman, and the Children’s Ombudsman’s recommendations.

“It is a disgrace the bill is being rammed through the Seanad without the necessary time being allocated to rectify its many deficiencies.” 

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