Monday, December 29, 2008

Ethnic tensions alert as immigrants fight for jobs

A TOTAL of 100,000 non-nationals left Ireland this year -- three times the previous estimate, new government figures show.

But immigrant numbers remain at record levels and Integration Minister Conor Lenihan has warned of "tensions" between groups competing for jobs as unemployment soars.

Mr Lenihan says confidential research suggests that an army of 100,000 migrants have left Ireland in the last 12 months with the collapse of the Celtic Tiger. The number is three times the official estimate of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) that 35,000 immigrants have left Ireland over the last year.

In a circular to TDs, Mr Lenihan said that nearly 140,000 fresh PPS numbers were issued to non-nationals in the first 10 months of the year now ending.

"Given these latter figures, the integration of immigrants remains a significant challenge," the minister warned.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lithuanian charged with Nenagh murder

A 28-year-old man has appeared in court charged with murder following a fatal stabbing in Nenagh, Co Tipperary on St Stephen's Day.

Egidijus Kiaulakis, with an address in Nenagh, was charged with the murder of a 29-year-old man at Summerhill in Nenagh on 26 December.

The married, father of a six-month-old baby, appeared at a special sitting of Nenagh District Court this morning.

Both Mr Kiaulakis and the victim are originally from Lithuania.

Moroccan charged over Limerick stabbing

A 21-year-old man has been charged with the murder of a teenager at a refugee centre in Limerick.

Farah Redouane, a Moroccan national with an address at the Sarsfield Inn Hostel in Limerick, was charged with the murder of 17-year-old Somali national Ali Ibraham Lal.

The court was told the accused was an asylum applicant. He was granted free legal aid.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Four in every five asylum seekers caught out by 'language police'

FOUR out of five asylum seekers have been caught making false claims by 'language detectives' who can tell where they really come from, the Irish Independent has learned.

The language analysis tests are being used because of "ongoing evidence" of efforts to undermine the State's asylum system, according to the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC).

In some cases, asylum seekers from a "safe state" are claiming to be from another country which is generally regarded as having serious human rights issues.

Some 140 applicants have now undergone the tests in order to verify their ethnic origin. Only one out of every five applicants tested are from where they claim.

Romanian cheque scam costs finance company €5k

A FINANCIAL service company lost €5,000 in a week to a scam operated by Romanian nationals passing cancelled Revenue cheques.

The firm has said apparently genuine cheques it has cashed for customers have been declared invalid by the Revenue Commissioners.

It has not yet been established why they were cancelled, but the cheque cashing company has been inundated by highly convincing forgeries.

Chequers 4 Cash has said the problem of invalid and forged cheques is costing it tens of thousands of euro a year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Over €6.5m paid in just five years of deportations

The Department of Justice spent over €150,000 chartering a flight for a sole Ghanian failed asylum seeker earlier this year, the Sunday Tribune has learned.

Four years earlier, the department spent over €50,000 deporting a lone Gambian asylum seeker. The cost of flying one Romanian home came to just €1,000 in the same year. In total, the justice department has spent almost €6.5m deporting 1,493 failed asylum seekers over the past five years.

Fine Gael's Immigration and Integration spokesman, Denis Naughten, said deporting individual asylum seekers home at such high costs was "unjustifiable".

This year, €727,197 was spent deporting 95 asylum seekers.

Deported Nigerian conman sets up political party

A Nigerian conman who was deported from Ireland has set up a political party in Britain, and plans to field candidates in next year’s European elections.

Andre John-Salakov has registered the PLC Party with an address in Rotterdam. According to Britain’s electoral commission, Salakov plans to run candidates for election in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as in the European elections. Salakov is listed as party leader, nominating officer and campaigns officer, while the treasurer is his partner, Wendy Wong. On the party website, Salakov says that the PLC Party is ’‘for the Family, for a Tolerant Society, for Law Reform, for Stronger Europe, and for British globally’’.

Salakov had a long record of clashes with the law in England before coming to Dublin and setting up a ‘Public Law Centre’. In 1999, Southwark Crown Court in London jailed him for 30 months on 19 counts of fraud and posing as a barrister. He had tried to persuade the National Lottery to give him £10.6 million to set up a legal advice service.

Major concerns raised over asylum seekers leaving infants alone

The fears are outlined in a series of inspection reports into reception centres, operated on behalf of the Department of Justice by private contractors.

The reports show that the practice of leaving children, some of whom are just a few months old, alone in their room is widespread at the asylum-seeker complexes.

The inspections, copies of which have been released under the Freedom of Information Act to the Sunday Tribune, are carried out routinely to ensure the standard of lodgings is up to scratch.

However, while strict rules exist for the proprietors of the premises on fire safety, food safety and the standard of bedrooms, other rules regarding behaviour of residents are proving far more difficult to enforce.

Foreign workers desert Ireland as work permits plummet

THOUSANDS of foreign workers are deserting Ireland as the number of employment visas being issued has plummeted, figures from the Department of Enterprise show.

Just 12,733 work permits have been issued this year, little more than half of the 2007 rate of 23,536.

In the average year, around two-thirds of foreign workers seek a renewal of their visa so that they can stay on in Ireland for another year.

This year however, only a third have applied for an extension after either losing their job or deciding to return to their home country.

The Department of Enterprise said: "A total of 12,733 employment permits have been issued up to 21 November 2008; 7,902 of these are new and 4,831 are renewals."

Almost a quarter of all the work visas issued this year were to Indian nationals, many of whom have gone to work in the computer industry.

A further 2,085 permits and renewals were given to Filipinos, the majority of whom work in the healthcare industry.

A total of 804 permits were issued to people from the US, a sharp decline according to figures for previous years.

A significant number of visas and renewals have also been issued to workers from South Africa, China, Brazil and Malaysia.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Chinese national jailed for stabbing Garda

A CHINESE member of "a gang of bandits" has been jailed for eight years for stabbing a garda during an armed robbery at a suburban house.

Zheng Xu (31), of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to seriously wounding Garda David Comer on July 13, 2005.

Xu and three other masked raiders held the occupants of a house in Main Street, Raheny, Dublin, at knifepoint, demanding their mobile phones and bank card PIN numbers.

Two co-accused, Xiang Cheng (25) and Qian Cheng, aka Jian Gong Ten (28), had been each jailed for seven years in July for assaulting Gda James Hendrick, aggravated burglary and the false imprisonment of three other Chinese people the same night.

Prison report shows inmate costs, note number of non-nationals in prison

THE COST of keeping an offender at the country's most secure jail in Portlaoise costs almost €270,000 per year, a new report shows.

The Irish Prison Service annual report shows that the average cost of an inmate per year is about €97,700. However, Portlaoise is easily the most expensive, followed by Shelton Abbey (€107,800 a year) and St Patrick's Institution (€106,800). The least expensive is Loughan House (€82,200), a low-security facility in Co Cavan.

The report also shows that almost a third of the 9,711 people sent to jail last year were foreign nationals.

Among these non-Irish nationals were UK nationals (2 per cent), other EU citizens (8 per cent), other Europeans (6 per cent) and African nationals (6 per cent).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Calls for tough measures to combat racism

The legal system needs to be overhauled so that it can effectively deal with racially motivated crime, according to a new report.

The "Combating Racism and Xenophobia through the Criminal Law" report also calls on judges to impose tougher sentences on those who commit racist crimes.

The study's authors, Jennifer Schweppe and Dermot Walsh of the Centre for Criminal Justice, University of Limerick, said that current law is not wholly suitable for dealing with racism.

The report said the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989 should be updated to include racism on the internet. It also called for Public Order and Offences against the Person Acts to be used as a means of prosecuting racist incidents.

Nigerian lawyer’s trafficking sentence appeal dismissed

THE Court of Criminal Appeal has dismissed an appeal by a Nigerian lawyer against his four-year sentence for trafficking illegal immigrants into Ireland.

Olaitan Ilori, aged 40, a father of four, of Oak Drive, Blessington, Co Wicklow was convicted in July 2007 on 12 counts of organising or knowingly facilitating the entry into the state on October 27, 2004 of 12 adult Mauritian nationals whom he knew, or had reasonable cause to believe, were illegal immigrants.

The court had previously rejected Ilori’s appeal against conviction.

Director of racism body criticises its closure at time of increased hostility

THE GOVERNMENT advisory body on racism is being disbanded at the time when racist incidents are on the increase and attitudes are hardening as a result of the recession, its director said yesterday.

Philip Watt of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI) said that reported incidents of racism had increased from 66 in 2004 to almost 200 so far this year.

"There has been quite a significant increase in the numbers reported to the gardaí," said Mr Watt.

Asylum seeking prostitute faces 2nd deportation

A NIGERIAN asylum seeker who admitted to a prostitution charge is facing deportation for the second time.

Ese Imaugen (25) was arrested with a client in Monaghan and is now set to be deported, despite claims that she is a victim of human trafficking.

Imaugen will now reapply to the Department of Justice for asylum seeker status.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

No2Lisbon re-vote appeal to Mary McAleese President of Ireland

The Irish people were the only European nation given the opportunity to vote on the Lisbon treaty. The people spoke a resounding NO.
The Lisbon Treaty is a re-worded re-structured version of the EU Constitution which was rejected in both France and the Netherlands by democratic vote of the people. Please note the Irish people were the only country to hold a referendum on this highly influential document due to a technicality: Ireland is the only country in Europe which states the need for a referendum in the Constitution. So had this not been so are we to assume they would have brought this controversial legislation into affect anyway? Is there a reason for this?

• The Lisbon treaty is an incomprehensible constitution and as such can only be signed by most in blind faith.
Even Irelands EU commissioner Charlie Mc Creevey and Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen had both
admitted to having not read the treaty and at the same time were lobbying the Irish people for a Yes vote!
•As a constitution it results in the loss of National Sovereignty for all 27 EU Countries!
•It is influenced and implemented using a profoundly undemocratic process and it lays the foundation for an undemocratic federal state.
•Appoints an unelected commission at the top of the decision making hierarchy.
•Favours Big Business over the Individual citizen.
•For Ireland and many of her European brothers it would mean the loss of permanent representation in the EU Commission.

Essentially what this means is a small group of politicians will be appointed (not elected) as the governing body of Europe with the power to change economic and political policy. These changes would have a profound impact on how we live our lives.

With all this in mind you can see why Ireland voted No.

Now there are talks of plans to hold another referendum on the Lisbon treaty. This is completely undemocratic and an insult to European Citizens. Our society is based on democracy ‘For the People By the People’ and to ask for another referendum is un-democratic and further validates the points made earlier.

There are those who want this treaty passed but is it for the right reasons? Do they have our best interest at heart? Can we afford to wait and find out? As a pre-emptive move I ask that you sign this petition which will be presented to President of Ireland: Mary McAleese in the event of another referendum being held.

Thankyou for taking the time to read this statement.

Please sign the petition !

Judge bans immigrant girl from Dublin city centre

A Judge today banned a 12-year-old girl, who is facing 19 charges mostly for thefts, from Dublin city-centre and expressed concerns on the level of parental supervision being exercised.

“She has picked up a lot of charges for a girl her age, I am not sure proper parental control has been exercised,” Judge Bryan Smyth said at the Children’s Court, in response to an application by the defence for the girl to be released from custody.

The small girl, who is about five foot tall and originally from Romania, but now residing with her mother in west Dublin, was remanded in custody to Oberstown Girls’ Centre, last week for preliminary psychological and psychiatric assessments to be carried out.

Immigrant jailed for sex act on bus with boy (15)

A Pakistani man who asked a 15-year-old boy to perform a sex act while they travelled on a city bus has been jailed for a year and ordered to leave Ireland within 24 hours of his release.

Jawad Khan (30), of Howth Road, Sutton, Dublin, appealed to the court for an order not to name him in the media because it would get back to his Muslim family in Pakistan and they would be thrown out of their village.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Deportation of 56 illegal immigrants costs €150k

ALMOST 60 illegal immigrants were deported last night at a cost of more than €150,000 to the Irish taxpayer.

The Nigerian deportees included two criminals who were convicted of serious crimes while in Ireland.

The rapist and drug dealer were flown from Dublin to Lagos, in what was the biggest deportation flight organised by immigration authorities here.

Some 16 children and a group of illegal immigrants who were seeking residence in Britain were also among the group.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

'Deal is already done' on Lisbon rerun

A FORMER senior MEP claimed last night that a rerun of the Lisbon Treaty vote was "a done deal" between Ireland and European Union leaders.

Danish veteran Jens Peter Bonde added that the deal means a new vote will contain declarations with lots of "nice words" that wouldn't actually change "one single paragraph" in the Lisbon Treaty text.

Mr Bonde, a noted Eurosceptic and an opponent of the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties, added: "I know that the French president has told European group leaders in the European Parliament, in
confidentiality, that there is a deal now with the Irish government and the French presidency on the . . . rerun."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

72,000 Irish passports issued around the world

Of the 4,041 passports issued to South Africans last year, many did not involve the descendants of Irish emigrants. One senior garda said: "These would be people who might have applied for asylum, had married an Irish citizen or otherwise sought naturalisation at some point."

Asylum seekers from a number of other African countries also successfully applied for Irish passports, the Department of Foreign Affairs said. A total of 271 people born in Nigeria qualified for citizenship last year in spite of the low rate of success in applying for refugee status by individuals from that country. Around 700 people from India and Pakistan were also granted Irish passports along with 72 from the DR Congo, 130 from Egypt, 171 from Kenya and 189 from Israel.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ungrateful migrants complain that their qualifications are meaningless

Migrant workers believe their qualifications are meaningless in Ireland, according a new report on the education needs of migrants.

The report found that potential students face barriers including language difficulties, lack of information on college courses and expensive fees.

The research was funded under the Government's Strategic Innovation Fund.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Somalian refugee brings in €6,000 worth of Khat

Mohamed Ibrahim (26) of James' Street, Dublin 8 was returning from England on a garda immigration pass when found to have the drug on November 30, 2006 at Dublin Airport.

"I've serious reservations that he was just distributing €6,000 of this for gratis," Judge O'Donnell noted.

Nine brothels raided in human trafficking operation

An organised crime gang that has been trafficking women into Ireland to work as prostitutes has been "disrupted and dismantled" after a series of raids across the State and simultaneous searches at locations in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Nine brothels were searched in Cavan, Drogheda, Athlone, Mullingar, Sligo, Kilkenny, Enniscorthy, Newbridge, and Waterford, along with six other locations in Carlow.

Authorities in the North, where the operation started several months ago, said at least seven women have been rescued from prostitution in that time. They are understood to come from Brazil, Nigeria and Namibia.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Significant increase in immigrants applying for voluntary repatriation

THERE HAS been a significant rise this year in the number of immigrants applying for voluntary repatriation through the International Organisation for Migration.

The scheme, which is funded in Dublin by the Department of Justice and the EU, offers asylum seekers and undocumented migrants a flight to their country of origin and "re-integration assistance" to the value of €600 for each person or up to €1,200 a family.

Although annual figures will not be available until next month, Doug Cubie, senior programme co- ordinator at the organisation, said there had been a significant rise in the number of applicants this year.

People from 30 countries have availed of the scheme so far this year, headed by Brazilians who accounted for 40 per cent last year. Georgians and Moldovans were also well represented.

Last year, over 250 immigrants availed of the programme.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Illegal immigrant hired by garda

Lack of vetting for garda interpreters has resulted in an illegal Chinese immigrant being hired by the force and has prompted calls for an immediate overhaul of the current ad-hoc system.

At present, if a foreign national presents at a garda station and translation is necessary, officers either choose an interpretation agency from the Golden Pages or check the notice board for flyers offering interpretation services, often from unverified sources.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Foreign workers set to "suffer more" during recession

Exploitation of migrant workers is likely to rise, with employers desperate to make savings in the recession.

Discrimination of migrant workers in Ireland is now the second highest problem, according to the Equality Authority, with scores of cases being brought before the Equality Tribunal every year.

Mr David Joyce, equality officer of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, says that migrant workers may be entering a period of great risk in terms of discrimination in these tough economic times.

"There may be more acute challenges now that we're living in a recession. All of our previous experiences have come out of boom times, but we may now see other challenges."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Child benefit payments halted for over 7,000 non-nationals

A major clampdown on child benefits has seen payments to more than 7,000 non-nationals cancelled.

In excess of half a billion euro has been given to non-Irish families in the past two years.

But the Department of Social and Family Affairs has undertaken a serious review in the past year to control against fraud and abuse of the scheme.

Around 70,000 letters have been issued from the department to non-Irish national since November last year.

Some 13,713 claimants did not reply within 21 days, and as a result 3,629 have had their claims terminated.

The Herald has learned that in excess of €4bn was paid out in child benefit between 2006 and 2007. Of that figure almost €600m was handed out to non-Irish nationals, some of whom do not even have children living here. One-in-seven recipients of child benefit was not born in Ireland.

Credit card fraudster got 19 free flights

A FATHER who travelled on a flight booked using a bogus name and credit card said he was hoping to move to Dublin to make a better life for himself.

Abdulakeen Yusuf (29) may have travelled up to 19 times by using a bogus name to book the flights, a court heard.

Yusuf admitted he obtained services by deception on four separate dates between October 2005 and January 2007.

Gardaí raid another Asian-run cannabis factory

GARDAÍ yesterday busted another Asian-run cannabis factory as part of an operation into organised crime involving a Dublin gang.

Following the seizure of €120,000 worth of cannabis plants at a remote house in Co Meath, gardaí are examining links between Chinese and Vietnamese criminals with a well-known north Dublin drug trafficking network.

This outfit is being targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), whose work led to the discovery of the factory yesterday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gardai uncover €2m fraud by asylum applicants

One Nigerian man and his wife had illegally claimed €33,000

A joint operation by gardai and the Department of Social and Family Affairs has uncovered social welfare fraud involving more than €2.2m in false claims by asylum seekers so far this year.

This brings the total value of savings from false benefit claims by asylum applicants to €14m since August 2004.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Irish share of migrant workers higher than all other EU states

IRELAND HAS received a far higher share of immigrants from countries that joined the EU in 2004 than any other EU state.

Some 5 per cent of the working-age population here originates in those countries, a report by the European Commission has found.

This was considerably more than in the UK, the second-largest receiving country in relative terms, where 1.2 per cent of the working-age population came from these 10 countries.

Migrant workers
Working-age migrants from the "EU 10" as a percentage of the total resident working-age population.
Ireland 5.0%
Luxembourg 0.5%
UK 1.2%
Belgium 0.1%
Sweden 0.1%
Italy 0.1%
Denmark 0.1%
Finland 0.1%
Germany 0.1%
Austria 0.4%

Source: Employment in Europe 2008, published by the European Commission. Figures are based on 2007 data.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ECHR asks Government not to deport Nigerian woman

The European Court of Human Rights has formally asked the Government not to deport a Nigerian woman and her two young daughters to Nigeria until it has considered her arguments against the deportation orders, including that her two daughters face a real risk of female genital mutilation if returned.

The letter of request from the ECHR was issued yetserday shortly after of a High Court judge's rejection of Pamela Izevbekhai's application for an injunction restraining her family's deportation until the Irish courts have determined her judicial review challenge to the Minister for Justice's refusal last March to consider her claim for "subsidiary protection" here.

Zimbabwean chosen to run for Green Party

THE Green Party are looking to a Zimbabwean community representative to run for the organisation in south Dublin in next year's local elections.

Tendai Madondo moved to Ireland in 2002 with her husband Farai, who is a civil engineer with South Dublin County Council.

The Green Party has officially ratified Mrs Madondo to run as a candidate in Tallaght South in next year's local elections.

"Tallaght is a 'rainbow area' now," said Tendai Madondo. "There are families from all over the world who have come to live and work here."

But Ms Madondo said that she is not exclusively going to represent the 'new Irish' community.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Majority of illegals defying orders to leave

FEWER than one in five deportation orders signed by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern are put in effect, it emerged last night.

Official statistics confirm that a total of 495 deportation orders have been issued by Mr Ahern up to the end of last month.

But only 95 orders have been implemented successfully.

The number of orders signed has dropped from a high of 2,185 in 2005 but surpasses last year's total of 404.

Thousands of asylum applications withdrawn

JUST UNDER 6,000 applications for asylum have been withdrawn since changes were introduced in immigration law five years ago.

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said that 5,799 asylum applications had been withdrawn including 1,777 applications last year and a further 607 up to the end of October this year.

In the same five-year period, 8,486 deportation orders were issued and 2,118 implemented. The largest number of deportations occurred in the first two years of the new rules with 591 deported in 2003 and 599 the following year. To date this year 95 have been deported, including people whose asylum application failed. In the period from 2004 until this year a total of 1,019 people were moved to the country where they first entered the EU. He said "in the region of 400" applications for long-term residency were being "finalised" every month.

Romanian and Bulgarian work restrictions to stay

THE GOVERNMENT is expected to impose work restrictions for Eeropean Union citizens from Romania and Bulgaria for at least another three years due to rising unemployment levels in the State.

This is despite lobbying by the Romanian and Bulgarian governments, which say the move is discriminatory and treats them as second-class EU members.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

72 Asians charged over cannabis factories in north

More than 70 people from South East Asia have been charged in connection with a €18 million drug manufacturing operation in Northern Ireland, police revealed today.

A total of 103 separate cannabis factories have been uncovered by the Police Service of Northern Ireland so far this year, with around 27,000 plants and 410lb (186kg) of herbal cannabis seized.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Court refuses bail for alleged human trafficker

The High Court has refused to grant bail to a Romanian national wanted in Italy for human trafficking offences.

The Italian authorities are seeking the extradition of Mr Mircea Remus Contras with an address at North Great Georges Street, Dublin, on charges that in January of this year he was involved in the illegal organisation of trafficking people from the eastern European nation of Moldova to Ireland via Italy.

It is also alleged that Mr Contras (aged 41) has acted as a "consultant" in what is described as the the highly profitable, but low risk, criminal activity of illegally moving people from countries such as Russia, the Ukraine and Moldova into the European Union.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fine Gael selects Polish candidate

FINE GAEL has selected a Polish woman to contest the next local elections in a west Cork town — with the party confident there are sufficient fellow nationals alone to elect her.

There are more than 200 Polish people eligible to vote in the Clonakilty Town Council elections next June.

If Joanne Crowley gets their full support, she would have enough votes to exceed the quota.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

One in six on dole are foreigners

FOREIGN nationals account for one in six of the people signing on the dole.

Of the 251,951 people on the live register in October, 44,600, or 17.7%, were not originally from Ireland, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office.

The number of foreign nationals rose by 112% in the 12 months to October — only 21,035 were signing on last year. In one month the figure rose by 8.2%, according to the CSO.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Poles claim Irish dole from Poland

POLISH workers leaving for home are being given classes in how to keep milking Britain’s benefits system.

Now Polish jobs chiefs are even holding lessons on how to keep taking cash from the Government in the UK and in Ireland, where foreign workers are leaving in their droves.

Another job centre, in Rzeszow, south-east Poland, said it received more inquiries about unemployment benefits in one week than it had in the whole of the previous year as Poles return from Ireland, where work is in short supply.

They only need to prove that they have been employed there for 39 weeks to qualify for job seekers’ allowance.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Libertas seeks candidates for pan-European party

LIBERTAS WILL need to run a significant number of candidates in next year's European Parliament elections if it is to be an effective pan-European party, its founder Declan Ganley has said.

The leader of the anti-Lisbon Treaty group yesterday confirmed a report in Saturday's Irish Times that his organisation has registered as a European political party.

He also said that Libertas would need substantial resources to mount a campaign, adding that candidates would need to stand in at least seven or eight states to make the move worthwhile.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pole gets extra three years in appeal court

A man who left a young journalist fighting for her life after he stabbed her through the neck during an attempted robbery has had his prison sentence increased from seven to ten years by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Today the three judge CCA described the attack carried out in Dublin's Coombe area by Leszek Jarosz (aged 22), from Poland, on Mairéad O'Dwyer as "extraordinarily savage".

The DPP appealed that sentence on the grounds that it was unduly lenient.

Vote drive for ethnic minorities

TENS of thousands of asylum seekers, migrant workers and foreign students are being urged to register their vote for the forthcoming 2009 local elections.

The voter registration drive, which kicks off this week, is aiming to get more than 50,000 people on the electoral register before the deadline.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Nigerian trafficker fails in appeal

The Court of Criminal Appeal has dismissed an appeal by a Nigerian lawyer against his conviction for trafficking illegal immigrants into Ireland.

Olaitan Ilori, a father of four, Oak Drive, Blessington, Co Wicklow was convicted in July 2007 on 12 counts of organising or knowingly facilitating the entry into the State on October 27, 2004 of 12 adult Mauritian nationals whom he knew, or had reasonable cause to believe, were illegal immigrants.

The 12-day trial was the first case of trafficking of illegal immigrants to come before the Circuit Criminal Court and Ilori was jailed for four years by Judge Martin Nolan.

Romanian given three years for kidnapping

A Romanian man who imprisoned a woman who thought he was a taxi driver and drove her 35 miles from her destination in Dublin city centre to Wicklow where she managed to escape has been given a three-year sentence.

Cezer Croitoru (aged 35) arrived in Ireland in 2004 after being released from a prison sentence in his native country for an almost identical offence involving a firearm claimed that the woman had given him incorrect directions.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Polish immigrant given suspended sentence for sexual assault

A MAN WHO sexually assaulted a woman as she went to open her front door was given a suspended sentence yesterday.

Construction worker Josef Bykowski (39), a Polish national, had been working in Ireland at the time but is now unemployed, Trim Circuit Court heard.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pole gets five years for sexual assault

A 26-year-old man whose attempted rape of a woman left her so badly beaten her friends could not recognise her has been jailed for five years at the Central Criminal Court

Emil Klinczyk with an address at Main Street, Bunclody, was found guilty by a jury in July of attempted rape, sexual assault and assault causing harm to the woman in Wexford on 10 July 2006.

Lithuanian jailed for attempted rape

A Lithuanian national who attempted to rape a Longford student on the shore of a Leitrim lake last year has been jailed for three years by the Central Criminal Court.

Tomas Urbonas, a 26-year-old father of one, with an address at Landmark Court, Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim was convicted by a jury in July of the attempted rape and sexually assault of the 23-year-old woman on April 8, 2007.

Urbonas is the subject of an European arrest warrant for an alleged robbery in his home country. He will be extradited in relation to that at the end of his sentence here. He arrived in Ireland in 2005 and has four previous conviction in this country for public order offences, drunk driving and possession of a weapon.

"Racist" poster feeds on fears of our OAPs

Anti-racism campaigners have joined forces with Labour politician Eric Byrne in denouncing racist posters that have have appeared on Dublin streets.

Dublin Councillor Eric Byrne said that he had recently removed several of the racist posters from outside post offices in the city.

"These posters, which depict an elderly white lady under the slogan "I'm over-70 and will have to pay for my health care" juxtaposed with a photo of a man of African or Asian extraction under the slogan "I'm over here and get it free" are clearly designed to stir up racial hatred, said Cllr Byrne.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More Chinese students to come here.

THE IRISH and Chinese governments are to set up a joint working group to promote greater co-operation in the higher education sector.
The move is expected to strengthen student exchange programmes and enhance collaboration in research and development.

"Minister Xinsheng said he wants to send some 5,000 Chinese PhD students abroad over the coming years and I want to ensure that Ireland's third-level institutions are optimally positioned to attract as many of those students as possible. When you consider that an international student studying in a third-level institution in Ireland spends about €10,000 annually on accommodation and other services and pays on average that amount again on tuition fees, there is strong economic value in attracting Chinese students to our shores," the Minister said.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nigerian sex trafficking ring investigated

The Gardaí and the PSNI are investigating an international sex trafficking ring, which brings women and young girls into Ireland to work as prostitutes.

The victims, who are promised education and employment, first undergo a voodoo ceremony in Nigeria before travelling through London and Belfast to be placed in brothels and apartments here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dáil asylum queries cost €350,000

NEARLY €350,000 has been spent this year fielding questions by TDs on behalf of non- nationals unsure about their residency status in Ireland.

It has emerged that 1,711 parliamentary questions relating solely to immigration have been asked since January, each costing around €200 to deal with.

The department of justice said the queries were a major drain on resources even though a streamlined process had been put in place to deal with them.

Irish cleaners at EU charity 'sacked and replaced' by immigrants

Officials from the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions have been called in to mediate a dispute between a company contracted to clean its Dublin offices and six Irish cleaning ladies who claim they have been sacked and replaced by a group of Lithuanian workers.

The women had been cleaning the offices of the European Foundation, based in Loughlinstown, Co Dublin, for between nine and 18 years under various sub-contractors.

The six claim that on Friday 17 September a senior AFM staff member informed them they no longer worked for the company. Four Lithuanian nationals took up their positions the following week.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Court jails Lithuanian for life over murder

A Lithuanian national who fatally stabbed a Latvian man in Swords last year has been jailed for life by the Central Criminal Court after a jury found him guilty of murder.

Mantas Pauliukonis had denied murdering Alesandrs Filusins by stabbing him in the thigh, severing his femoral artery, following a row at a "Russian" disco.

The jury of six men and six women spent five hours and 19 minutes over two days considering its majority verdict of ten to two. It also convicted Pauliukonis (aged 25), with an address at Park West Crescent, Clondalkin, of assaulting another man, Sergej Cuksejev, outside the disco at Taylor's Public House.

The jury heard that Pauliukonis bragged about the killing to a security man at the disco at Taylor's Public House in Swords shortly after the incident. He had said "at least we got him... we stabbed him up".

More than 50 cases of trafficking into Ireland

AT LEAST 50 foreign nationals have been trafficked into the Republic for forced labour in the past six years, according to new research.

Preliminary findings of a study being carried out by the Irish School of Ecumenics at Trinity College Dublin also show that victims included Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Egyptians and Filipinos, and that catering, manufacturing and domestic work were among the sectors where the practice arose.

The figures were compiled from case files held by support groups, trade unions and other bodies. Presenting their research at a seminar on the topic in Dublin yesterday, Dr Gillian Wylie and Deirdre Coghlan said their data - showing at least 50 cases were recorded since 2002 - gave a conservative estimate of the problem.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Asylum seekers held in prison for months before deportation

ASYLUM seekers have been kept in prison for up to eight months while awaiting deportation, despite having committed no crime.

The Department of Justice said the average time spent in jail by deportees works out at 33 days per person. None have committed any offence and all could instead have been asked to present at the headquarters of the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

A total of 130 asylum seekers have spent between one day and eight months behind bars since the beginning of last year, the department said.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Court told of rise in fake ID cases among foreign nationals

THERE HAVE been six reported cases so far this year in Galway of foreign nationals producing fake documents, such as passports and birth certificates, at the social welfare office in a bid to obtain PPS numbers so that they can work illegally, it emerged at Galway Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.

Judge Raymond Groarke commented that people were using professional fraudsters and forgers to obtain fraudulent documents. This crime was being committed far too regularly in a schematic and professional manner, the judge said.

“People are making vast sums of money on the backs of people looking for such documents and it has to be marked with the imposition of a prison sentence,” he said.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Warning on dangers of migrant segregation

THE CLUSTERING of migrants in some areas may develop into segregation unless social integration is made a key aim of housing policy, according to a Government-funded report to be published tomorrow.

Although it has found there is currently little evidence of segregation, the study warns this could change where low incomes narrowed newcomers' choice of neighbourhood and Irish residents chose to move out because they felt their area had become too diverse.

The emergence of segregated schools could compound the problem.

Published by the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism, this is the first major report on the relationship between housing policy and integration.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Increase in number of migrants repatriated

THE GOVERNMENT repatriated more than 500 eastern European migrants to their home countries so far this year under a scheme aimed at assisting destitute immigrants.

In the eight months leading up to August a total of 511 migrants were repatriated. The number for the full year is set to well exceed last year's total of 538 repatriations.

The figures come at a time when unemployment among foreign nationals is rising sharply, with an increase of almost 80 per cent in the number of non-Irish signing onto the live register over the past year.

Gardai seek Arabic recruits

The Gardai have launched a campaign to attract its first Arab recruits.

Posters advertising a new round of recruitment were today on the force’s website, with appeals in Arabic to join up.

The gardai already have several Chinese officers and now want to extend its cultural mix by recruiting Arabic speakers.

The campaign does not expressly state it but some of those who sign up may join the gardai’s fight against extremism.

However, it is thought that the vast majority of recruits would be assigned to the frontline in day to day uniform police work.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bilderberg group not happy with Irelands rejection of Lisbon Treaty

IRELAND will be in Europe's "dog house" if we reject the Lisbon Treaty in a second referendum, according to the chairman of the secretive global businesss organisation, the Bilderberg Group.

Viscount Etienne Davignon issued the stark caution in a rare interview ahead of addressing an international conference on Lisbon in University College Cork (UCC) on Wednesday.

"Ireland will be in the dog house if it says no for a second time", Davignon told the Sunday Tribune." The other states who ratified the Treaty have now become hostages of the Irish position and the Irish should have had some respect for the opinions of the other states.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ireland ‘must act’ to avoid race crisis

IRELAND must seize the window of opportunity it has to ensure it doesn’t end up with the same racial problems as Paris, Amsterdam and London, a community activist said yesterday.
Fergus McCabe, who has worked in Dublin’s north inner city for 30 years, said there have been incidents in the area of groups of Irish children and foreign nationals “squaring up” to each other on the street.
“We either try to get things right now, while we have a window of opportunity, or we will be facing the sort of problems we see in other countries,” he said.

Unlimited detention plan for immigrants ‘draconian’

MEASURES which mean immigration officers may be able to hold foreign nationals for an unlimited time and deport people without notice have been labelled draconian by the Irish Refugee Council.

Currently being debated in the Dáil, refugee and immigration groups are concerned The Immigration Residence and Protection Bill 2008 needlessly extends the power of immigration officers, many of whom are not gardaí and who cannot be held accountable for their decisions.

Non-Irish seeking unemployment benefit up 80%

The number of foreign nationals applying for unemployment benefit has increased by almost 80 per cent over the past year, new figures show.

The increase has been felt most sharply by members of former EU accession states where numbers have jumped by some 144 per cent since September of last year.

When the foreign national figures are broken down, they show that most who have signed on the live register are members of former EU accession states (8 per cent), followed by UK nationals (4 per cent), those outside the EU (3.4 per cent) and the "EU 15" (1 per cent).

Lithuanian immigrants jailed for gang rape.

A Lithuanian woman was gang-raped, drugged and told she would be sold into prostitution during an ordeal, a court heard today.

The victim was abducted from a pub in the North and attacked by at least five men during her 24-hour imprisonment.

Three fellow Lithuanian nationals were sentenced to between eight and 14 years behind bars.

Monday, September 29, 2008

EU may foot bill for migrants who want to go home

A FINE Gael TD who was branded as racist for suggesting that non-nationals should be offered incentives to return home may have been just a little ahead of his time.

Yesterday it emerged that the Department of Justice is to look at way of tapping into a €629m EU fund that aims to pay economic migrants who voluntarily decide to return to their countries of origin.

The EU's Return Fund will be available to all member states to provide cash to non-EU immigrants who cannot afford to live here or who have failed in their asylum applications.

But the Department of Justice confirmed last night that officials were examining the rules of the fund to see if it could be applied to EU nationals who want to return home.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Civil servants refuse to carry out fingerprinting of immigrants

Plans by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) to introduce a new state-of-the-art fingerprint and palmprint system for migrants has had to be put on hold because clerical staff refused an instruction from garda management to process the fingerprinting.

The 50 clerical staff at the GNIB headquarters at Burgh Quay, members of the Civil and Public Service Union, argue that it is inappropriate for clerical staff to do the job of a garda.

The clerical workers remain behind a protective screen while processing the applicant. But the new Automated Fingerprint Integrated System (AFIS), signed off by justice minister Dermot Ahern last month, involves the applicant being taken into a dedicated room for finger and palm printing.

Only native Irish child in her class

A seven-year-old girl who recently started second class in a school in Balbriggan,?Co Dublin, is the only native Irish child in her class. When Rachel Clarke joined her classmates in Bracken Educate Together school earlier this month, her mother realised she was the only child of Irish parents among the 20 pupils. Niamh Clarke says she was shocked at the sheer number of nationalities in the classroom.

"I felt like I was in a different country, like I was the outsider. At first we were the only white people there. Then when we did see white people coming along, they weren't Irish, they were Polish or Russian," she said.

Ritual slaughter of animals excluded from new regulations

Ritual killing of animals by Muslims and Jews is to be excluded from a new European Commission animal welfare regulation dealing with conditions for slaughtering animals.

Six of the 35 slaughter plants currently approved by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food provide ritual slaughter techniques.

Animals which are ritually slaughtered are not stunned beforehand, but have their throats cut while fully conscious. Orthodox Jews and Muslims are not permitted to eat meat unless it is kosher or halal.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Large number of 'sham marriages' uncovered

The Department of Justice believes it has uncovered a large number of 'sham marriages' between Latvians living in Ireland and people from the Indian subcontinent.

The Government has alerted the Latvian authorities to the statistically abnormal number of marriages that would allow non-EU nationals to sidestep immigration laws.

The department has given figures to its European counterparts that show 4,600 non-EU nationals may have married non-Irish EU citizens in order to exploit a loophole in an EU directive on the free movement of people.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Schools to allow hijab

THE hijab is in -- but the burqa is out under new policy rules for uniforms in schools. They were drawn up following controversy over the wearing of the hijab, a square of fabric, folded into a triangle, placed over the head and fastened under the chin.

Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe and Integration Minister Conor Lenihan jointly issued agreement recommendations which were drawn up following consultations and a review of the legal position in Ireland.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Government U-turn on undocumented migrant workers

THE GOVERNMENT is to set up a programme to regularise the status of undocumented migrant workers in Ireland who previously held work permits.

Senior officials told unions and employers at social partnership talks last week that the scheme will be aimed at foreign national workers who have become undocumented through "no fault of their own".

The move appears to be a significant U-turn by the Government, which previously signalled that any such move could provide an incentive for illegal immigration.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Refugee numbers fall off while 900 failed applicants vanish

UP TO 900 failed asylum seekers have vanished in Ireland in the past two years, the first official figures from the gardaí have revealed.

Despite a large fall in the numbers of would-be refugees coming to Ireland, the numbers vanishing from the asylum process is rising.

The total number of illegal asylum seekers in the country who have been declined refugee status remains a mystery. Senior garda sources have estimated it could be anywhere between 6,000 to 7,000 people who have fallen through the cracks over the past decade. Many have left for other EU states such as the UK.

"These are people who we have lost track of. They have opted out of the asylum system and are not claiming any state benefits," a senior garda said. "The potential for them to be taken advantage of or vice versa is a real issue."

Friday, September 19, 2008

80 Congo refugees to hit Ireland’s shores

A month after the announcement of the settlement of Tanzanian refugees in Ireland and while our economy is crashing down, it has been announced today that some 80 refugees from Congo will be resettled in Ireland next year.

The families are currently living in refugee camps in the north-western region of Tanzania.
Integration minister Conor Lenihan and officials will travel to Tanzania tomorrow to finalise details of the UN-led resettlement move.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Immigrant caught with fake driving licence

A GEORGIAN construction worker caught with a fake driving licence has claimed he was forced to buy it because his English wasn't good enough to sit the theory test for an Irish licence.

Zurabi Petrashvil (34) was found with a false Latvian driving licence after gardai stopped him at Blanchardstown.

Judge Patrick McMahon put Petrashvil off the road for two years and fined him €300.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Al Jazeera TV focus on Irish Muslim family

ARABIC news network Al Jazeera has taken an active interest in the plight of an Irish girl who wants to wear a religious headscarf to school.

The Egan family from Wexford, who were caught up in the row over the wearing of the hijab in Irish schools have been featured on the Al Jazeera English channel.

Liam and his wife Beverley requested that their 14-year-old daughter, Shekinah Egan, be allowed to wear the religious headdress to Gorey Community School last September, sparking debate on the issue.

While Shekinah was allowed to wear the hijab, the Government refused to take a stand on the issue, leaving it as a matter for individual schools.

Monday, September 15, 2008

C of I priest says racism 'sanctioned' by the State

Canon Comerford was referring to publicity surrounding how the Nigerian priest, Father John Achebe, was stopped at Dublin airport last Tuesday night, and his passport was confiscated.

He was arrested on the suspicion of trying to enter the country illegally, taken to Cloverhill prison, forced to stand naked in front of other prisoners, and served with a deportation order.

But Fr Achebe was later released after the intervention of the Nigerian Ambassador.

Study on children and racism

TWO studies on children’s experiences of racism in Ireland are to be undertaken by Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT).

As concern grows that the economic downturn may prompt a shift in attitudes towards migrants and an increase in racism, the institute’s Centre for Social and Family Research has won research contracts worth €250,000 to study Polish migrants in Ireland and the effect of modern lifestyles on migrant children.

One of the research projects, Motherhood and Social Integration: the case of Polish migrants in Ireland highlights that 60% of all EU workers in Ireland are from Poland and 33% of these are women.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The have and have nots different view on immigration

With a quarter of a million on the dole and rising, seven out of 10 of us are -- according to a survey published last week -- worried about keeping our jobs.

With one in eight workers in the economy being immigrants, more and more people now believe immigration needs to be controlled. And jobs are not the only worry.

Our culture, our sense of identity -- the thing we cling to when the economy let's us down -- is under threat. Some groups, mainly the well-paid elites, argue that we should change the religious status of our schools, not to mention that of the Irish language, to make ourselves more accommodating to immigrants.

The jobs of the elites -- professionals and public-sector workers -- are largely insulated from displacement.

For them, immigration means cheaper au pairs and faster service in restaurants. The jobs of the governed aren't.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mother & Son arrested for cocaine smuggling

A TEENAGE boy from the Dominican Republic and his mother were caught at Dublin Airport trying to smuggle €10,000 worth of cocaine into Ireland, the Children's Court heard yesterday.

The 17-year-old boy had been charged at the Children's Court last week with possessing cocaine, possession with intent to supply, and importation of drugs on August 22.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nigerian girl trafficked for sex trade goes missing from HSE

A 17-YEAR-OLD Nigerian girl who gardaí believe was trafficked into Ireland to work in the sex industry has gone missing while in the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The girl, who has been on bail since June when she was arrested during a raid on a suspected brothel in Kilkenny city, failed to turn up for a court appearance yesterday.

She had been placed into the care of the HSE on an interim care order and was due to appear before Kilkenny District Court yesterday.

At a previous hearing in July, Judge William Harnett said it appeared she was brought to Ireland "most likely for the purposes of putting her into slavery".

The child had no identification papers when she was found and there was no record of anyone of her name entering the State.

Poll shows majority want immigration restricted

The majority of people polled in a new survey believe Ireland's immigration policy should be made more restrictive to cope with new economic pressures.

In a survey due to be published today, 66pc of Irish adults questioned said they would like to see Irish policies on immigration made tighter given the worsening economic climate here.

The survey also revealed that young people and women were more likely to feel immigration had been bad for Ireland than their older or male counterparts.

Blacks face job discrimination: ESRI study

An ESRI analysis has shown that black immigrants are nine times more likely to be unemployed than Irish nationals and are seven times more likely to be discriminated against when seeking a job.

The report says that non-Irish nationals living in Ireland are three times more likely to have experienced discrimination while looking for work than Irish nationals.

In addition, all migrants from non-English speaking countries face a higher risk of unemployment, and report greater difficulties in accessing employment.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Third-level college begins 'fingerprinting' non-EU students

A PRIVATE Dublin third-level college has begun phasing in a controversial fingerprinting system to monitor some foreign students, the Sunday Tribune can reveal.

Griffith College Dublin (GCD) has introduced the 'biometric' identification process whereby students from outside the EU will scan their fingerprints every day in order to prove their continued attendance in class.

The students are granted visas by the Department of Justice which allow them to live, work part time and study in Ireland as long as they maintain a satisfactory attendance rate.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Congolese national in court on cocaine charge

A 20-year-old man has been remanded on bail at the Dublin District Court charged in connection with the seizure of €350,000 worth of cocaine last night.

Deo Gracias, from The Congo, was arrested yesterday on Peter Street in Dublin's south inner city following the seizure of €350,000 worth of cocaine.

Friday, September 5, 2008

FG suggests paying foreign workers to return home

A Fine Gael proposal to give unemployed foreign nationals six months' free dole in exchange for going home was yesterday strongly criticised by Fianna Fail and FAS.

A voluntary repatriation scheme for the 40,000 foreign nationals on the live register was mooted by Fine Gael enterprise spokesman Leo Varadkar, at a meeting of the Oireachtas enterprise committee with FAS, the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed and Enterprise Ireland.

His proposal centred on the idea that six months of social welfare benefits be paid to foreign national workers prepared to return to their country of origin. Such workers cost the State €400m every year in dole payments, according to Mr Varadkar. But Fianna Fail's Thomas Byrne labelled the proposal as a "new low in Irish politics".

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Asylum centre staff agree to anti-racism training

STAFF at an asylum seekers' accommodation centre in an isolated village have agreed to undergo anti-racism training, according to the Irish Refugee Council (IRC).

Talks have been ongoing at the centre in Emo, Co Laois since a number of African asylum seekers complained of racism, a lack of privacy and security issues at the former Montague Hotel.

Yesterday, representatives of the IRC and a committee acting on behalf of the asylum seekers met with management to discuss their concerns.

Following the meeting the IRC said that management had committed to undertaking a course to assist them in dealing with the 200 immigrants from more than 20 different countries who are living at the centre.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hijab row in schools kicks off for new term

The new school term is barely hours old and the hijab debate is already back on the curriculum.

A group of Muslims has been formed to campaign for the wearing of the head scarf in schools and is now lobbying for a law to allow the practice.

The Irish Hijab Campaign has said it aims to educate the general public on the significance of the hijab head-dress and its normalisation in Irish society. The group also intends to encourage the wearing of the hijab in the workplace as part of everyday uniforms.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Group aims to help Moldovan immigrants

A new group to promote the interests of Moldovans living in Ireland was launched today.

It is estimated that 5,000 emigrants from the eastern European state live here and organisers said it is hoped the association will help develop stronger relations between the two countries.

Moldovan Elena Secas, the first non-national to stand for election to Limerick County Council, said the association will give a voice to a people not as well known as other immigrant groups.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Muslim community in plea for more burial grounds

LOCAL AUTHORITIES throughout the State should make more burial spaces available for Muslims as, currently, there is just one graveyard in the Republic where they can be buried, a spokesman for the community in Ireland has said.

Ali Selim, secretary of the Irish Council of Imams and based at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Dublin's Clonskeagh, said: "If a Muslim dies in Cork or Galway he or she has to be brought to Newlands Cross cemetery in Dublin for burial."

According to the 2006 census there are 32,500 Muslims in the State, but this is believed to be considerably short of the true figure.

Imam Hussein Halawa, chairman of the Irish Council of Imams and imam of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Clonskeagh, has put the real figure at approximately 45,000, made up of about 50 nationalities.

Immigrant who broke bail curfew imprisoned

A POLISH national, who faces serious criminal charges and who broke a curfew imposed as a condition of bail, was sent back to prison by the High Court yesterday.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan heard that Wojciech Bobowicz, of Waterville Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin, had been found with a screwdriver in his pocket at four in the morning.

Garda Joseph McLaughlin said Mr Bobowicz faced charges alleging false imprisonment, sexual assault, possession of a weapon and the unauthorised taking of a car. He told Ms Sinead Mc Mullan, counsel for the State, that gardaí had apprehended Mr Bobowicz in a car.

Friday, August 29, 2008

100 languages spoken in single council area

A SNAPSHOT of the ethnic diversity existing within communities has revealed more than 100 languages are spoken in just one local authority area.

A detailed survey of the minority ethnic population living in Fingal County Council, in north west Co Dublin, found there were people from 100 different countries residing within its boundaries.

A surge in population has seen the community, which encompasses urban centres including Blanchardstown, Balbriggan and Swords, rapidly expand to more than 240,000, including over 40,000 non-nationals.

Ireland a haven for illegal immigrants

IRELAND is a “highly attractive” destination for illegal immigrants and criminal gangs smuggling them in, according to an EU security report.

The report also said Irish criminal gangs were bypassing international drug traffickers in Europe and arranging deals in “source” countries.

“The UK and Ireland are highly attractive destinations for illegal immigrants and organised crime (OC) groups who facilitate illegal immigration,” said the EU Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2008, conducted by Europol.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Polish man in custody on fatal crash charge

A POLISH national was charged yesterday with dangerous driving following a collision in which a young woman died.

Lukasz Lachowski (26) was charged before a special sitting of Mallow District Court with dangerous driving arising from an accident last Sunday in which Gillian Drinan (25) was killed.

Judge Lucey was told that gardai anticipated further charges being levelled against the 26-year-old by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Irish asylum case exposes major flaw in EU system

A MAJOR flaw in legislation could allow would-be refugees to repeatedly apply for asylum in a succession of different European Union countries.

The loophole, which is of potential benefit to hundreds of asylum seekers, allows a person to be readmitted to the Irish asylum system if they evade what's known as a "transfer order".

Under current arrangements, a person's asylum claim must be heard in the EU country where they first claim asylum. However, a case currently being dealt with by the Department of Justice has exposed a major failing in the legislation, one which could potentially delay the deportation process for years.

The person involved – who is believed to be an African national – arrived in Ireland in April of 2006 and applied for asylum here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Immigrant groups criticise hike in registration fee

Immigrant and education groups have criticised a Garda decision to raise by 50 per cent the cost of registering with the border authorities.

The Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) announced on its website this week that, as of tomorrow, the registration fee for most of those from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will rise to €150, an increase of €50 on the previous charge introduced in 2006.

The fee increase coincides with the introduction of fingerprinting of immigrants registering with the GNIB.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ireland to take in Tanzanian refugees

Refugees from Tanzania are to be resettled in Ireland under a UN program, it emerged today.

Minister for Integration Conor Lenihan and officials are to travel to the West African country next month to finalise details.

The Tanzania refugees, who are expected to arrive in Ireland in coming months, will be resettled in a town selected by the Office of Integration after detailed local consultation.

Eastern European crime gang suspected in ATM scam

GARDAÍ HAVE uncovered a large-scale international ATM and credit card cloning operation involving thousands of cards used recently in the Galway area.

Gardaí believe it is more serious than the card fraud which came to light earlier this week in the east of the country.

In the Galway case, cards had already been cloned and large sums of money stolen before gardaí were alerted to the problem.

Detectives are working on the theory that somebody in the Galway shop may have facilitated the card skimming for an Eastern European crime syndicate.

Senator wants new migrants to sit exam in English

THE row over immigrants' language skills deepened last night after a Fine Gael senator called for a mandatory English test for all foreigners entering the country.

It comes just two days after controversial remarks by her party colleague, Fine Gael frontbencher Brian Hayes, calling for the "segregation" of immigrant children in secondary schools until they can speak English.

Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames last night said immigrants who wanted to work in the country should have to pass an English language test to improve the process of integration.

"We really need to let foreign nationals know that English is a requirement to live here. It is absolutely ridiculous that some people are here for years without an English competency," she told the Irish Independent.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Murder probe as Brazilian arrested

GARDAI last night launched a murder inquiry after a woman was found stabbed to death in a house.

The victim, a Brazilian woman in her 20s, suffered a number of stab injuries.

She was found dead in the house on Lanesboro Street in Roscommon town at about 6pm.
It is understood that a Brazilian man in his 30s, who was in the house earlier, was arrested by gardai a short time later.

He is being held in Roscommon garda station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act and can be held for up to 24 hours. Gardai are still trying to establish the circumstances leading up to the killing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Teachers back call to segregate immigrants

TEACHERS last night gave a guarded backing to calls for immigrant children who cannot speak English properly to be "segregated" in our classrooms.

This followed a Fine Gael call yesterday for the Government to separate immigrant children with poor language skills from the rest of their classmates.

The party’s education spokesman, Brian Hayes, said children should not be put into a mainstream class until they have a competence for it.

He added: “And if that requires segregation, well then we have got to segregate the child in the best interests of that child.”

He said he was also aware that many parents were frustrated at the effect the lack of segregation was having on the education of their Englishspeaking children.

Asylum seekers on hunger strike in Co Laois

More than 200 asylum seekers have gone on hunger strike in protest at what they say is bullying and lack of facilities at an accommodation centre in the midlands.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Non-Nationals buying homes in Ireland

ALMOST one in 20 first-time buyer houses are being snapped up by Africans, according to figures to be published later this month.

The figures, from the Irish Mortgage Corporation, show that while many Irish-born first-time buyers have been sitting on the property fence this year, the number of properties being bought by non-nationals has surged.

Overall, non-nationals are snapping up one in four first-time buyer houses, compared to about one in 10 three years ago.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fingerprint ID system for immigrants gets underway

THE fingerprinting of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals migrating to Ireland is to commence tomorrow morning.

Justice minister Dermot Ahern this weekend officially signed off on the measure, which will mean legally resident immigrants – from outside the EEA (which is compris­ed of the EU states and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) – who intend staying here for more than 90 days will have their fingerprints taken and stored in their Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) identity cards.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Nigerian town councillor calls for more recognition for foreign qualifications

Many immigrants with university degrees are being forced to work as cleaners or in factories, it has been claimed.

Nigerian-born member of Ennis Town Council, Cllr Taiwo Matthew called for a better system for recognising overseas educational qualifications in the country. The trained doctor became the first immigrant elected to a local authority, in 2004.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bebo kills off racist Irish quiz

The Irish arm of social networking site Bebo, has been accused of racism and 'glorifying terrorism.'

Calls for a controversial quiz to be removed from the site came this week when Northern Ireland's Culture Minister described its content as "offensive."

Constructed by one of the sites users, the quiz was aimed at determining users' levels of Irish nationalism.

Bebo has since removed the 'How Irish Are You?' questionnaire which had been taken by over 50,000 users since it was originally posted on the networking site.

Reports of racial discrimination up 100%

The number of cases of racial discrimination in the workplace referred to the Equality Tribunal reached 307 last year, an increase of over 100% on the previous year.

Cases of discrimination on the grounds of race and disability saw the biggest jump in figures last year, the report says.

The number of cases of racial discrimination accounted for almost half of the claims relating to employment, of which there were 667.

Fears for future cloud asylum-seeker's joy

A TOGOLESE student passed his exams with distinction -- despite having the threat of deportation hanging over him.

A delighted Thomas Atcha (19) yesterday celebrated passing all six subjects he sat at Summerhill College, in Sligo, achieving a B1 in geography and a B2 in English.

"I am really pleased. It is looking great. I think I will definitely get my first choice of business marketing at Sligo IT," he said.

But Thomas, who sought asylum after arriving in Ireland as an unaccompanied minor two years ago, is still unsure what the future holds for him.

The Refugee Appeals Tribunal rejected his application but he believes if he returns to the African country he will be in trouble for alleged political activity for which he had been detained.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

'No foreigners' house to let sign sparks outrage in the North

A “No Foreigners” sign on a house to let in Belfast provoked outrage today.The offensive and illegal sign on the three-bedroom house in the loyalist Donegall Road area of south Belfast declared “This property is not available for any foreigners.”

Chinese-born Anna Lo, South Belfast Alliance Party Assembly member, was outraged.

Ms Lo said: “This is sickening. To treat other human beings like that is simply appalling. I hope action is taken to remove this sign immediately – we must never see anything like this again.”

The Donegall Road area is home to a substantial number of people from Asian communities and other migrant workers.

There have been a number of attacks on homes occupied by foreign nationals and the landlord behind the sign said a Romanian tenant fled last week after the windows were smashed and the bin set on fire outside the front door.

Ms Lo said he was still breaking the law as spelt out under the Race Relations Act.

Monday, August 11, 2008

39% of people recieving rent allowance are foreigners

THE State is spending around €150m a year hosting a "United Nations" of nationalities in rented properties, according to new figures.

People from 161 different countries, ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, are in receipt of the free rental allowance.

They account for 39pc of the 63,000 people on the means-tested scheme, which costs a total of €390m annually and is generally open only to those who are unemployed.

Although 61pc of people on the scheme are Irish, the numbers of immigrants on rent allowance has been increasing steadily.

There are more than 3,000 from Nigeria, 3,000 from the UK, 1,950 from Poland and 1,130 from Romania. Small countries like the Bahamas, Chile, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Grenada and Honduras have just one citizen each on the scheme.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The myth of Ireland's liberal asylum policy

NIGERIAN people arriving in Ireland have practically no chance of being granted asylum, according to figures obtained by the Sunday Tribune.
The figures, which also indicate that asylum applications from Chinese people are almost always refused, demolish claims by anti-immigrant groups that Ireland has an open-door immigration policy. Fewer than 20 Nigerian nationals have been recognised as refugees in the past two years, despite more than 1,500 applications, the figures show.

For an individual to be granted asylum in Ireland, they must meet very strict criteria, and their best chance of success appears to come if their country is at war.

Around 44% of Iraqis have been granted asylum over the past two years, making them the most successful nationality in terms of applications.

Sudanese nationals also have a high chance of success, with around 40% of applications accepted by immigration authorities.Of 215 asylum applications received from would-be refugees from Sudan, 84 were granted, many of them from people fleeing civil war in the Darfur region.

By comparison, Nigerians have a less than 0.01% chance of being granted refugee status in Ireland, no matter what their personal circumstances.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sarkozy proposes Ireland and Britain share one EU commissioner

FRENCH president Nicolas Sarkozy was accused of being “out of step” with political realities after floating the idea that Ireland and Britain should share a European commissioner.

The proposal, revealed by a French diplomat in the German newspaper Die Welt has some politicians asking if Mr Sarkozy was making “a bad summer joke”.

The newspaper quotes a source close to Mr Sarkozy as saying the French president is considering proposals that countries of “similar culture and language circle” should share a commissioner. The idea proposes countries with a common cultural heritage, such as Britain and Ireland, could share a common commissioner.

Welfare fraud crackdown raises €238 million

A total of €238 million was saved in the first six months of this year through a crackdown on welfare fraud, it was revealed today.

The biggest amount - €80 million - was recouped by reviewing 200,000 claims for one-parent family payments, while an examination of unemployment payments saved €55 million and a further €37 million came back from illness payments.

The Minister said she hopes to recoup €525 million from fraud controls during 2008.

More than 600 staff at local, regional and national level are engaged on a full or part-time basis on work related to the control of fraud and abuse of the social welfare system.

Vietnamese nationals arrested after gardai raid drug factories

Gardai yesterday seized over €500,000 worth of drugs at a number of rented houses being used as DIY cannabis factories.

Landlords were warned last night to be vigilant after gardai uncovered the scheme and arrested three Vietnamese nationals who are believed to have been used to house-sit the plants.

An incident room has been set up at Castlerea station. Yesterday, gardai questioned two men, aged 51 and 54, and a 47-year-old woman in Roscommon, Boyle and Longford stations in connection with the raids.

They are all Vietnamese and were detained under section two of the Drug Trafficking Act.
A garda spokesperson said they can be held for up to seven days by which time they will either be released or charged.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Poles send home close to €2bn of our money

POLISH workers here are expected to send more money home than ever this year despite the economic downturn, with some commentators believing it will top €2bn.

Last year, Poles sent €1.33bn home from Ireland, according to the Polish Central Bank, NBP. But the bank estimates the figure this year will reach €1.87bn -- despite anecdotal evidence that Eastern European workers are leaving Ireland because of a fall-off in jobs, especially in the construction sector.

However, the actual figure may be higher. Two-thirds of Poles in Ireland send money home, but just 46pc use a bank account to do so. Others use specialist transfer firms such as Western union, or take it home on flights themselves.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

90% of new jobs go to foreigners

Cllr. Pat Whelan has called for the up-skilling of Irish workers after it emerged this week that 90% of new jobs created in the last 12 months were being filled by foreign nationals.

“This information from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) bucks the widely held belief, that many migrant workers will leave Ireland for other EU countries as our economy slows down, and that a large proportion of new jobs being created in Ireland will be taken up by the Irish workforce,” said Cllr. Whelan.