Taoiseach must address British Secretary of State’s claims on immigration controls - Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking during Pre-European Council Statements in the Dáil this afternoon, has said the Taoiseach must address recent claims by the British Secretary of State James Brokenshire that the British government’s focus, in conjunction with the Irish government, is to move the British State’s frontline of immigration controls to Irish ports and airports.
Responding to remarks made by the Taoiseach during Leaders’ Questions yesterday in relation to the position of the Executive in the north, Teachta Adams said “it would be better if the Executive was united, but if the DUP refuse to agree with the rest of us, and more importantly, with the electorate, then the Taoiseach has to deal with that reality.
Teachta Adams said:
“Yesterday during Leaders’ Questions I noted the remarks of the British Secretary of State James Brokenshire, who on the 9th October said there is a ‘high level of collaboration on a joint programme of work’ between the Irish State and Britain.
“He said, ‘we have put in place a range of measures to further combat illegal migration working closely with the Irish government’, and also stated, ‘our focus is to strengthen the external border of the Common Travel Area, building on the strong collaboration with our Irish partners.’
“Yet the Dáil has hasn’t heard a whimper on this issue, not one word, and rather, we get this information from a British Minister
“In other words, what the Minister was claiming is that the British government is to move the frontline of immigration controls to Irish ports and airports to prevent illegal migration into the British State.
“This is clearly not feasible and I have made the point that I am not enamoured by the response of the Minister for Foreign Affairs to these claims.
“I asked the Taoiseach yesterday to comment and make a statement on the matter, but he refused to confirm or deny to the Dáil if such measures are being put in place. That’s totally and absolutely unacceptable.
“The Taoiseach also went off on a little diversion about the need to know what he is talking about in terms of the Executive in the north, saying ‘we are not going to get any specific or particular circumstances right unless we know’.
“He said ‘if there is a division of opinion about what the north wants, I cannot sort it unless there is a consensus and agreement on what the horizon or objective is on the part of the Executive in the north’. The Taoiseach knows as well as I do the Executive position.
“The fact is the DUP, and for that matter the British government, do not accept the democratic will of the people in the north. Sinn Féin does and other parties there do as well.
“Of course it would be better if the Executive was united, and if the DUP agreed with the rest of us, and more importantly, with the electorate, but they don’t and the Taoiseach has to deal with that reality, instead of trying to blame Sinn Féin.
“We should not give up on the DUP. Many unionists are very concerned about the economic consequences of Brexit, including DUP supporters.
“We all need to be reaching out to them, but we cannot ignore the result of the referendum and Sinn Féin is not for turning on this issue. The Taoiseach should not be for turning either.”