Cian and Jen

The Government’s approach to immigration is in a state of chaos and disarray, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on children, said:

“In recent days and weeks, we have seen U-turn after U-turn by the Government in its efforts to house migrants seeking asylum.

“We are now presented with a completely illogical situation where the State is putting asylum seekers into a hotel while proposing to buy an empty hotel in the same town. This pathetic attempt to quell local opposition makes absolutely no sense and clearly illustrates that the Government has no proper policy or plan in place.

“Such a ham-fisted approach undermines the Government’s own immigration policy and will make it even more difficult to find suitable accommodation for Ukrainians or asylum seekers in towns across the country.

“Failure to plan has resulted in a policy that has put 600 vulnerable men out on the streets in sub-zero conditions and represents a complete abdication of responsibility by the Government.

“It is nearly two years since Russia invaded Ukraine, yet everything is still being dealt with on an emergency basis. A recommendation to build six State-run reception centres was made by an expert group in November 2022 but is only being examined by the Government now.

“The challenge is far too great for one minister and his department to manage. What we need is a cross-departmental taskforce, run from the Taoiseach’s office, to coordinate this.

“There must also be a template for integration rolled out in communities in advance of migrants being housed, to link in with local services that provide training, education and language skills.

“A workable long-term policy on immigration will require a whole of Government response. Crucially, politicians must refrain from using their platforms to create division or stoke up fear.”

January 17, 2024

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