Today’s motion on immigration by the Rural Independent Group has been branded a disgrace by Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns.

“The Rural Independents should be ashamed of themselves for bringing this despicable motion before the Dáil, which is nothing more than a series of dog whistles.

“In doing so, they are pandering to the far-right, stoking up divisions and spreading fear and misinformation. This motion is putting a target on the backs of migrants and asylum seekers for the sake of a few votes.

“Their motion displays an astonishing ignorance of the International Protection system. It fails to recognise that granting refugee status is not something that happens on the first day someone arrives in Ireland seeking protection – it is a complex legal process that can take months or even years.

“There are many flaws in the IP system, in particular the failure to phase out direct provision, which is cruel, inhumane and not fit for purpose. But instead of talking about the real problems in the system, we have wasted Dáil time debating this absolute nonsense from the Independent Rural Group.

“Lost in these debates on immigration is the value of inclusion. The work of countless organisations, groups and individuals across Ireland shows the value that immigrants and asylum seekers bring to this country – they are our friends, family and loved ones; our teachers, nurses, builders and hospitality workers.

“No one has a veto over who should live in their community – and that includes the Rural Independent TDs who brought this shameful motion before the House today.”

December 6, 2023

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