Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD has called on the government to summon US embassy representatives to relay to the Trump administration Ireland’s condemnation of its policy of forcibly taking children from their immigrant parents.

Deputy Shortall said:

“It has been deeply disturbing to see the reports and footage emanating from the US in the past number of weeks. Children being forcibly taken from their parents, kept in cages with foil for blankets. Immigration officers being told not to comfort or hold distressed children calling for their parents. Parents not being told when, or indeed if they will be re-united with their children before they are deported.

“The United States, a developed nation, with which we share historically strong links, is engaging in the deliberate traumatisation and abuse of children in order to deter immigration and asylum seeking. This is torture and it is unconscionable.”

Deputy Shortall added:

“The net effects of Trump’s shocking xenophobia can be seen in the emboldening of racists and right-wing populists closer to home. Political leaders in Hungary, Italy, Poland and other European states have drawn inspiration from Trump’s immigration policies.

“We ourselves are not immune and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our own appalling legacy in the form of direct provision. I reiterate my call from last week that this system be abolished.

“Representatives from the US Embassy must be summoned by Minister Coveney so our condemnation of these policies can be made clear to them and relayed to Washington D.C.

“In particular, I would ask government ministers, some of whom enjoy a close relationship with the speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, to express their abhorrence of these policies.

“I do not believe that the Trump administration can be shamed or embarrassed into action. The man leading it is incapable of shame. However, if the Republican Party has any shred of decency left, or any respect for the functioning of US democracy, they cannot allow this appalling situation to continue.”

ENDS

20 June 2018