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.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Nazi memorabilia openly on sale in Dublin market

Nazi memorabilia, including swastikas, ashtrays and anti-semetic DVDs, are being openly sold at a market in Bal­­briggan, north Co Dublin, the Sunday Tribune can reveal.

Labour TD Ruairí Quinn has called for a full investigation into the Outpost Militaria stall at Balbriggan market which specialises in Third Reich material.

Quinn, who is also the chairperson of the Holocaust Educational Trust Of Ireland, said of the controversial stall: "I am absolutely shocked by this information from the Sunday Tribune and I would call on the owners of Balbriggan market to fully investigate whether the merchandise being sold is not in breach of any civil or criminal legislation, specifically incitement to hatred. Items of this nature are most alarming."

Friday, August 1, 2008

EU court overturns Irish ban on non-EU spouses

Europe’s highest court has ruled that spouses of European Union citizens who are not themselves citizens of the EU may live in Ireland.

The case involved four couples who appealed a decision by the Government to deport them because the husband in each case is not an EU citizen and has never lived lawfully in another EU state.

The ruling delivered this morning by the European Court of Justice said Irish laws, requiring a spouse from a outside the EU to have lived in another member state, were incompatible with a directive on the free movement of EU citizens.