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 gardaĆ­ 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 gardaĆ­ 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.