Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New drive to cut cost of asylum appeals

NEW measures to reduce the cost of last-minute legal efforts to block the deportation of failed asylum seekers are to be introduced in the new year.

A streamlined judicial review process will mean that an asylum seeker can only seek a single review of a ministerial decision in the courts.

The single procedure will allow all elements of an asylum application to be dealt with together and if the claims are unsuccessful, the failed applicant will be liable for deportation without further court challenges.

This will replace the existing system, which allows multiple attempts to be made in the courts to overturn a decision.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Asylum applications at lowest level in 10 years

ASYLUM applications to Ireland have plunged to their lowest levels in over a decade amid a crackdown by immigration authorities.

The number of people looking for refuge is now at levels not seen since the late 1990s, and officials are also attributing this to the collapse in the economy. The drop in 2009, the year in which the recession hit hardest, was 35pc from 2008 levels.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rise in foreign nationals claiming welfare

The amount of foreigners claiming social welfare in Ireland has risen despite large numbers leaving the country, it has been revealed.

Of the 118,000 people arriving in Ireland in 2004, 10% registered for benefits but that figure jumped to almost a quarter last year.

The Central Statistics Office blamed rising unemployment for driving greater numbers of migrants to the dole.

Monday, December 21, 2009

49% in NI believe migrants taking jobs

Almost half of people in Northern Ireland think migrant workers take jobs away from locals, it was revealed today.

Nearly a third think they came simply to receive benefits, the survey for the Department of Employment and Learning said. Most felt they were putting a strain on services.

The report said attitudes may have hardened with tougher labour market conditions.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Immigrant queries on redundancies up

Almost 500 people contacted the Immigrant Council of Ireland about job losses compared with just 70 calls in 2008.

“We have heard rhetoric about the recession taking the urgency out of the need for immigration reform because migrants are supposedly going home,” chief executive of the council Denise Charlton said.

“There are lots of people who are not going home, they’re Irish now or they’re married to someone Irish or their children are Irish.

“What makes up the Irish population has changed for good and despite the recession we still have to ensure that we have a system that can respond to that.”

Thursday, December 17, 2009

46 Nigerians deported

A TOTAL of 46 Nigerians were deported last night after they had failed in their bid to seek asylum status here.

Gardai from the National Immigration Bureau escorted the group onto a flight to Lagos at Dublin airport after an earlier spate of arrests across the country.

This is the 23rd charter flight to Nigeria. Last October 48 Nigerians were deported, while another 13 were returned to Lagos in September; a group of 35, including a convicted drug dealer, was sent back in June; a further 10 in May; and 30 in April.

Nine out of 10 asylum applications are deemed to be unfounded.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chinese brothels set to open up across country

The Chinese brothels that have opened up in Dublin are set to take off across the country following a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions not to prosecute two establishments operating in the capital.

However, following revelations in this newspaper, the women working in the brothels stopped openly offering their services and, it is understood, when a detective asked what services were on offer the girl in question made no reply other than "massage".

The use of the euphemism rather than the open offer of sexual services appears to be the point on which the DPP has decided that it would not be possible to prosecute the cases in court.

No major prosecution appears to be under consideration into the very major organised brothel operations in Ireland which are generally controlled from abroad.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ireland ‘among worst’ for racism

IRELAND ranks among the worst countries in Europe in terms of discrimination against ethnic minorities from sub-Saharan Africa, a European report has revealed.

The Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) surveyed more than 23,000 people from ethnic minority and immigrant groups about their experiences of discrimination, racist crime, and policing in the EU. Members of the Roma people said they suffered more discrimination across the whole of Europe, but in Ireland sub-Saharan Africans were more likely to be discriminated against.

Number of asylum seekers falls

THE NUMBER of Nigerians seeking asylum here dropped by 50% this year compared to 2008, latest figures from the Department of Justice show.

Overall, the numbers seeking asylum dropped by 40% year on year but Nigeria still provides the highest number of asylum seekers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Saudis' Islamic school here

Plans for an Islamic school in Dublin to teach the children of Saudi people living here have been announced by the Saudi Embassy in the capital.

Details of the decision are carried in Arabic on the embassy website, which says the decision to set up the school was taken at a meeting in Dublin last last month.

Welfare fraud: the scams

- The vast majority of cases prosecuted are for those who are working but claiming jobseekers allowance.

- PPS numbers can be traded on the black market. This can happen when someone leaves the country but sells or "rents out" their PPS number to someone who can then claim their entitlements.

One in 250 natives of Mauritius live in Ireland

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern has confirmed that one in 250 of the Republic of Mauritius’s inhabitants have opted for life on these altogether greyer shores.

A total of 5,000 of the island’s 1.25 million Mauritian nationals are registered with the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

So great is the lure of Ireland that the Mr Ahern has been forced to clamp down on Mauritians’ visa requirements.

Romanians charged for stolen card use

Three Romanians have been charged in connection with an alleged €40,000 shopping spree with a Laser card stolen from a woman’s handbag.

Gardai revealed husband and wife, Costin and Constanta Colciu, were arrested at Dublin Airport on Monday as they were about to board a flight to Amsterdam.

A third man, Catalin Tatarsanu Miron, was later arrested at an address in Tallaght.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Welfare fraud costing taxpayer almost €2 billion annually

Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin has defended her department’s record in tackling welfare fraud after a RTÉ Prime Time programme revealed fraud and mistakes relating to a range of benefits cost the Exchequer almost €2 billion annually.

The programme, which was broadcast last night, showed that fake PPS numbers could be easily obtained on the black market after just a few telephone calls.

Monday, December 7, 2009

State to tap immigrant return fund

THE Government is seeking EU funds to get illegal immigrants from Nigeria, China and Brazil to leave the country.

It wants to tap into the European Return Fund (2008-2013), which is worth almost €700m, to pay for the return of illegal immigrants.

The top five source countries for asylum applications in the first 10 months of this year were Nigeria (499 people), Pakistan (216), China (169), the Democratic Republic of Congo (91) and Moldova (79). But the overall number of applications (2,354) is the lowest since the mid 1990s and far below the peak of 11,634 refugee applications in 2002.

Pakistani fraudster took visa bid to court using fake ID

IMMIGRATION officials and gardai have uncovered a scam in which a Pakistani national used a false name in an attempt to secure visas for his alleged wife and six children.

The fraudster assumed the identity of another man, who was serving a prison sentence in Britain, and had also acquired a passport in another name.

But despite using the bogus identity, the man brought his case to the High Court when the visa applications were refused.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Libyan teen threatened to burn house

A teenager who threatened to follow an employee of the Refugee Reception and Integration Office home and burn down her house after his request for accommodation was refused has had his sentence adjourned.

Roma men jailed for trafficking into Ireland

THREE MEN have been sentenced in Romania for up to seven years for trafficking 28 people – including one child – into Co Wexford for labour exploitation.

Remus Fusteac (41) was jailed for seven years, while his son Arthur Sergiu (21) and nephew Alexandru Fusteac (20) were both sentenced to five years for trafficking, illegal possession of firearms and organising a criminal syndicate.

The three had previously been deported from Ireland in 2004 after being investigated for money-laundering.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Warning of rise in racism

IRISH ATTITUDES towards immigrants are hardening as people search for someone to blame for their worsening economic situation, a leading NGO has warned.

Crosscare Migrant Project, which provides information to migrants, has also appealed to the Government to maintain funding for projects to assist immigrants to integrate into Irish life.

Conor Hickey, director of the Crosscare Migrant Project, said yesterday people “rolled out the red carpet for migrants” willing to do the jobs they were not willing to do a few years ago. This carpet is being “rolled back” against a backdrop of rising unemployment and the threat of racism, he said.

Commission finds Church covered up child sex abuse

The Commission of Investigation into Dublin’s Catholic Archdiocese has concluded that there is “no doubt” that clerical child sexual abuse was covered up by the archdiocese and other Church authorities.

The commission’s report covers the period between January 1st 1975 and April 30th 2004. It said there cover-ups took place over much of this period.

In its report, published this afternoon, it has also found that “the structures and rules of the Catholic Church facilitated that cover-up.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Life sentence for Brazilian murderer

A BUTCHER has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering his girlfriend with his meat-boning knife in Roscommon last year.

Brazilian Amilton Leonel de Olivera (37), Lanesborough Street, Roscommon town, pleaded guilty yesterday to murdering mother of one Kezia Gomes Rosa (31) on August 19th, 2008, at a house on Lanesborough Street.

Poll shows hardening of attitude towards immigrants

THE VAST majority (72 per cent) of people want to see a reduction in the number of non-Irish immigrants living here, according to an Irish Times /Behaviour Attitudes opinion poll.

Overall, a total of 43 per cent say they would like to see some, but not all, immigrants leave the State, while 29 per cent would like to see most immigrants leave. In contrast, just over a quarter (26 per cent) would like to see the number of immigrants remain as it is.

In a reversal of trends from polls in recent years, younger people’s attitudes towards immigration have hardened the most.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chinese man ordered to leave country

A Chinese man who sexually assaulted a woman and mugged and beat a young girl has been given a three-year suspended sentence on condition that he leave the country immediately and not return for 15 years.

Yu, of Garville Avenue, Rathgar, but originally from North China, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a young woman on May 14, 2006 on Ranelagh Road. He also pleaded guilty to robbing a 16-year-old girl of her handbag on June 1, 2006 on Kenilworth Road, Rathmines.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Protests over hygiene and heat by asylum seekers

DOZENS OF asylum seekers protesting against conditions at Globe House accommodation centre in Sligo yesterday said they regularly had no hot water and no heating for days at a time.

About 50 people protesting outside the centre said there was one washing machine for 173 residents. They said the doors of dryers had to be closed with cellotape. “People are saying it is like a hotel here. It is a nice building on the outside but they should see inside,” said one resident.

Mayor of Limerick: "Send home jobless nationals"

THE Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kevin Kiely, has called for the deportation of EU-nationals who have failed to secure employment since their arrival here.

"I'm calling for anybody who is living in the State and who can't afford to pay for themselves to be deported after three months. We are borrowing €400 million per week to maintain our own residents and we can't afford it," the outspoken politician said this Wednesday.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cocaine use here among the highest in Europe

Irish youths are among the worst in Europe when it comes to cocaine use, a new report has revealed.

The European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) showed the country has the fourth-highest use of cocaine among 15- to 24-year-olds in Europe.

Ireland is also among the countries with the highest prevalence of drug-related deaths, coming fifth in Europe with 57 drug-induced deaths per million of population.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Asylum 'shoppers' deported over scam

One-in-10 asylum seekers who arrived here this year have been deported to other EU member states because they were 'shopping' for benefits.

The extent of the racket was revealed last night after a week-long operation targeting the asylum 'shoppers' -- so-called because they shop around for better benefit deals between various EU countries.

The recent crackdown by the Garda National Immigration Bureau and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service resulted in the arrest and deportation of 22 people, mainly Somalians, Albanians and Eritreans.

Serbian national jailed for importing cocaine

A former military bodyguard has been jailed for six years for importing cocaine into the country hidden in a car’s battery.

Zoran Andjelkovic (aged 41), a Dutch national, but originally from Serbia, was caught with nearly two kilogrammes of the drug, worth €125,000. Gardaí were alerted to the drugs by a confidential tip-off.

Andjelkovic, of Hagandoornwag, Amsterdam, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cocaine for sale or supply on December 13, 2008 at the Airside Retail Park in Swords.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Polish man arrested after drugs find

A 30-year-old man is in custody following the discovery of over 4.5kgs of herbal cannabis in Wexford yesterday.

A Polish male was arrested at the scene and was handed over to gardaí in Wexford.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Judge: Roma raising kids to steal

A judge today accused the Roma community of raising their children to steal saying they were responsible for “our shops being robbed blind".

At the Dublin Children’s Court, Judge Aingeal Ní Chonduin was dealing with the case of a now 16-year-old Roma mother-of-one, who admitted theft of several pairs of shoes and handling stolen clothes.

“That seems to be the culture, the family owns her that is the way the families function, unfortunately, to go about to steal,” she said regarding the girl’s circumstances.

Judge Ní Chonduin also said it seemed that the children were “raised” to steal. “It is a different culture, it does not go with our ways and our shops are being robbed blind, I feel sorry for these children.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Brazilian in court over fatal stabbing

A MAN appeared in court yesterday charged with murdering Brazilian mother of three Joselita da Silva.

Marcio Goncalves da Silva, (30) of Tara Street, Tullamore, Co Offaly, was charged at 12.39am yesterday with the murder of the 33-year-old.

€91.5m spent on asylum accommodation

THE total cost of providing accommodation for asylum seekers in the State in 2008 was € 91.5 million.

East Meath TD Thomas Byrne was given the figures in the Dáil after he was asked to raise this issue by a number of constituents.

The FF deputy says he does think the overall total is a lot of money, but a new bill will streamline the process and bring down the costs.

Asylum seekers posed as Somalis

IMMIGRATION authorities have uncovered a scam involving African asylum seekers, who claim to be from Somalia.

Three out of five were found to have lied about their background.

The applicants are posing as Somalis to boost their chances of being granted refugee status because they are less likely to be deported back to the war-torn country.

But a check on the background of a targeted group over the past six months has established that the majority of them were from neighbouring countries. The check was carried out using the Eurodac fingerprint system and visa databases established in the UK.

The nationality breakdown of the 'Somali' asylum seekers showed that 44 -- or two-fifths of the original batch -- were from Tanzania, eight from Somalia, six from Kenya, three from Yemen, and one each from Ethiopia and Djibouti.Remove formatting from selection

EU cash will help State fund more deportations

THE EU is giving cash to the Government to help pay for flights home for migrants who lose their jobs.

Ireland had applied to the EU for monies to help non-EU immigrants who cannot afford to live here or who have failed in their asylum applications. The EU has agreed, and will provide around €600,000 per annum from 2008 to 2013, under its Return Fund. Remove formatting from selection

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Child benefit changes urged for foreign nationals

Child benefit payments to foreign nationals whose children live outside the State should be reduced significantly, according to a report on social welfare fraud by an Oireachtas committee.

About 7,000 EU nationals resident in Ireland are claiming child benefit for 11,000 children living outside the State. This is projected to cost the exchequer about €20 million this year.

The report says it is “not appropriate” to pay the Irish rate of child benefit for children in other countries where the cost of living is significantly lower.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Colombian drug mule jailed for six years

A Colombian hairdresser who swallowed €58,000 worth of cocaine to smuggle it into Ireland has been jailed for six years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Fidel Guiaso (aged 36) said he smuggled the drugs to pay for his grandfather’s medical bills.

Judge Katherine Delahunt told him he was "an essential cog in a very evil trade."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Perpetrator of sex assault 'no longer welcome in this country'

A Chinese man who sexually assaulted a woman and mugged and beat a young girl is “no longer welcome in this country”, according to Judge Patrick McCartan.

“The Irish community are well shot of this man,” he said of Sun Yu (24). “Rather than put him in jail at the taxpayers’ expense, he should be sent back to his own country.”

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

INLA 'has ended armed struggle'

THE INLA has ended its armed struggle, according to a statement issued on its behalf yesterday.

The announcement was made in Bray, Co Wicklow, by Martin McMonagle, from Derry, a member of the executive of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (IRSP). He said he knew nothing of any plans the INLA might have to decommission weapons.

One senior source said there was a British government expectation that the INLA would begin the decommissioning process in the coming months.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nigerian drug courier jailed for six years

Nigerian national who was paid €4,000 to carry €65,000 worth of cocaine capsules internally has been jailed for six years for transporting the drugs into Ireland.

Chika Chima Oluga (aged 24), with an address at North West Street, Wichita, Kansas, was contacted by a fellow national while he was working and living in America. He was advised that a man called “Sunny” would pay him to bring the drugs into Ireland and cover his expenses.

Oluga then flew to Senegal where he swallowed the capsules before he flew to Paris and then onto to Dublin.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Most minors missing from care in Dublin are Chinese

SOME 80 per cent of minors who are reported missing from State care in Dublin are Chinese teenagers who had sought asylum.

According to the Garda missing persons bureau, 28 Chinese minors have been publicised as missing from the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE) over the past 12 months. Seven other minors were reported missing in the same period: four Africans – from Gambia, Somalia, Togo and Nigeria – an Iraqi, a Bosnian teenager and an Irish child.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ireland 'can only gain by rejecting treaty'

Ireland has nothing to lose and everything to gain by voting no to the Lisbon Treaty, Libertas leader Declan Ganley said today.

The millionaire businessman said the EU reform package had not changed at all since the Irish people rejected it last year during the first ballot.

Legal guarantees hammered out with the leaders of other member states earlier this year on neutrality, tax and family issues were meaningless, he added.

Mr Ganley said if the EU deal is backed by the Irish electorate it would see the transfer of power in more than 60 key decision areas away from Dublin to Brussels.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Defence Forces probe over Nazi salutes on Bebo

THE military authorities have launched an investigation after members of the Defence Forces were shown giving Nazi salutes and posting racist comments on a social networking site.

At least two reserve Defence Force members based in Dublin are under investigation. A spokes-woman for the Minster for Defence Willie O’Dea confirmed the "review" was ongoing and the investigation was expected to be completed by the end of the week.

"There was an investigation at unit level and there was no disciplinary action taken at that level. However, the matter is now with the chief of staff’s office and that investigation is ongoing.

In one image a Defence Force recruit is seen next to a statue of a German eagle clutching a swastika. The young man is wearing a German iron cross buckle on his belt. Another image shows the soldier superimposed beside Ku Klux Klan members.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Loophole allows asylum seekers to claim welfare

ASYLUM seekers who have spent years fighting for refugee status in Ireland could be entitled to claim full social welfare entitlements if they have been in Ireland long enough, it has emerged.

The loophole is likely to prove costly for the government and could encourage asylum seekers to continually make legal challenges to deportation decisions, immigration sources have said.

It means they can claim child benefit and other payments instead of the standard small direct provision payments, which are made available to most refugee applicants in lieu of full welfare entitlements.

Deportee refused leave to enter Nigeria

A 38-year-old woman deported home to Nigeria three weeks ago was refused admission into her country after officials in Nigeria demanded thousands of euro from gardaí on the basis that the woman had mental health problems. Officers from the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) refused their demand and the woman was returned to Ireland.

The woman is now back in asylum accommodation in Dublin. She came to Ireland five years ago and her return is likely to form the basis of another legal bid to stay here.

A garda source said the woman was not ill on the plane and that the demand by Nigerian authorities for "a few grand" was unacceptable. The source said there was no evidence the woman was mentally or physically unwell.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dell given €55m to aid transfer to Poland

THE decision yesterday by the EU Commission to give €55 million to Dell to assist the US computer giant transfer its Limerick manufacturing operation to Lodz in Poland sparked anger among the Dell workers who will lose their jobs by the end of the year.
More than 1,600 have already been let go at the doomed Limerick plant.

Another 400 will be left go by the end of January next.

Denis Ryan, chairman of the Dell workers’ committee, said: "This is a slap in the face from the EU to us.

They got taxpayers’ money to come to Ireland and when that runs out they pop on to Poland.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Jewish prisoner 'abused' by lack of kosher meals

THE Jewish Representative Council of Ireland will inspect the kitchens of a jail after a prisoner complained to the High Court that his food is not kosher.

The case, the first of its kind in Ireland, has been brought by a Jewish prisoner who was extradited to Ireland from the United Kingdom to stand trial for alleged sexual offences.

The prisoner complained to the High Court that his constitutional rights are being infringed by the failure of the Irish Prison Service to serve him kosher food in Cloverhill Prison.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Warning on Dublin suspect's link to Bin Laden

The 47-year-old has previously denied involvement in terrorism, claiming to be a charity worker. He also claimed to be a journalist at one point.

He is already wanted by the US, Interpol, Libya and the UN. Here he is constantly monitored by the Middle Eastern section of the Special Branch but he has never faced any terror charges.

Buwisir, in Ireland since 1982, lives at his family home in Broadford Drive, Ballinteer, with his wife and children.

Questions have been raised on how he has been able to maintain Irish Citizenship, which was granted by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Asylum-seekers kept in jail for up to three months awaiting deportation

ASYLUM-seekers are being held in jail for up to three months before their deportation, adding to overcrowding in prisons.

The Department of Justice said that, over the past 18 months, nearly 130 people have been imprisoned while arrangements were made for their deportation. The average time spent in custody was 24 days, but some people spent up to 105 days behind bars.

Last year, a total of 162 deportation orders were executed, a slight increase on the previous year, which had been the lowest in a decade.

The department said another 271 non-nationals left the state under what are known as transfer orders under Dublin II regulations. These are people who claimed asylum in Ireland but who were later found to have sought refugee status in another EU state.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Polish nationals arrested in cannabis seizure

Two men have been arrested following the discovery of €20,000 of cannabis in a car at Rosslare Europort, Co Wexford, yesterday evening.

Officers from Revenue's Customs found the 1.66kg of herbal cannabis hidden in the spare wheel of a car disembarking the ferry from France.

The two Polish nationals, aged 32 and 26, were handed over to gardaí in Wexford.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Influx of immigrants is 'without precedent'

THE number of immigrants who settled in Ireland during the past decade is without precedent in the Western world, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) said yesterday.

Eastern Europeans made up over 4pc of the population by 2007 after being a negligible percentage of the population just five years earlier.

In Britain, the immigrant population rose by 2pc in the 30 years after 1960, it added.

Just over 10,000 Eastern Europeans lived in Ireland in 2002 while the figure was 200,000 by 2007. The influx was swelled by the Government's decision to allow Eastern Europeans to move here earlier than most other EU countries after the EU expanded in 2004.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Failed asylum seekers sent home

THIRTEEN failed asylum seekers have been returned to Nigeria after exhausting the appeals process here.

The group were being returned to their homes yesterday after being flown out of Dublin on a charter flight, organised through the Frontex network.

The latest flight is the 22nd charter to Nigeria and more are expected later in the year.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Time limits on foreign students proposed

MINISTER FOR Justice Dermot Ahern has proposed capping at five years the amount of time someone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) can spend in the State as a student.

A discussion document on reform of the student immigration system, published yesterday, also proposes introducing a two-tier system to target incentives at the “upper end of the academic spectrum” and tighter inspection of educational institutions.

Further restrictions would be introduced on the placement of non-EEA children in Irish schools in receipt of State funding, although the document raises the possibility that students could pay an “immigration levy” set by the Government as a means of recovering the costs of their child’s education.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Underage teens trafficked here as sex workers

YOUNG teens below the legal age of consent are being trafficked into Ireland for sexual exploitation, new figures show.

A cloak of invisibility now surrounds the sex trade, with criminals operating in a "hidden world" in which women are marketed over the internet, according to the support group Ruhama.

During 2007 and 2008, its newly published report stated there were 341 women directly assisted by the group, including 100 women trafficked into Ireland specifically for prostitution, the majority from Nigeria.

Student immigration reforms published

The Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern today published a set of proposals to reform student immigration from outside the EU.

A public consultation process on the issue has been launched.

The discussion document drawn up by Mr Ahern, in consultation with a number of other Government departments, contains more than 20 specific proposals, including capping the length of time a person can spend in Ireland as a student, introducing a two tier system to facilitate the targeting of incentives towards the upper end of the academic spectrum, a tighter inspection regime, possible changes in respect of visas and new guidelines on work placement or internship.

Garda surrenders 73 people to other states under European warrants

SEVENTY-THREE people were arrested and surrendered to other states under European arrest warrants last year, according to the annual report on the operation of the system.

The report, released by Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern yesterday, showed 198 requests for surrender were made in 2008. Some 154 were endorsed by the High Court.

The highest proportion of those sought were wanted for assault or robbery (81), followed by fraud (28), drugs offences (25), murder (20) and sex offences (13).

Recent EU accession states accounted for the majority of those sought, with 81 Polish nationals, 26 Lithuanians and 11 Romanians being the subject of European arrest warrants last year.

However, the majority of those actually surrendered to other states went to the UK (32), with 17 to Poland.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Time period for immigrants to find work extended

THE PERIOD of time allowed to migrant workers to find new employment after they have been made redundant has been extended by Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern.

Certain migrant workers who have lived in the State for under five years and possess a valid work permit are to be given six months to find a new job if they are made redundant, under the new regulations announced yesterday.

Previously, migrant workers from outside the European Economic Area who were made redundant had only three months to find alternative employment or leave the country. The EEA comprises the EU, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland. Non-EEA permit holders comprise 1.5 per cent of the labour force or some 30,000 people.

Mr Ahern said the decision was about protecting jobs and giving migrant workers who had abided by employment laws a chance to stay in the country.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Refugee accommodation centres make €1.5m profit

ONE of the country's leading providers of asylum seeker and refugee accommodation more than doubled its operating profits to €1.5m last year.

Newly filed accounts for Bridgestock Ltd show the operating profit to June 2008 was more than double the €619,000 made the previous year.

Jointly operated by Seamus and Kathleen Gillen, the company operates eight accommodation centres across the country.

State faces €500m bill as welfare rents soar

THE number of people needing help from the State to pay their rent has risen by more than 50pc in just over 18 months.

Now the Department of Social and Family Affairs expects to pay out almost half a billion euro this year to subsidise rent payments.

There are more than 91,000 people in receipt of Rent Supplement, an increase of 53pc since December 2007, new figures reveal.

The benefit is paid to people living in private rented accommodation who cannot provide for the cost of their accommodation from their own resources.

In general, people qualify for the payment if their only income is a social welfare or Health Services Executive (HSE) payment.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two Lithuanians charged over cigarette smuggling

Customs officers at Dublin airport yesterday seized cigarettes valued at €12,800 during a search of baggage.

Customs officers discovered 32,000 "L & M" brand cigarettes, representing a potential exchequer loss of €10,500.

Two Lithuanian nationals with addresses in Kaunas were arrested during a Customs operation targeting cigarette smuggling from the Baltic region.

33 children missing from state care

A TOTAL of 33 children have gone missing from state care since January, with 29 of them still unaccounted for.

The children, who came to Ireland from other countries unaccompanied by their parents, were in the care of the HSE at the time of their disappearance.

New figures, confirmed by the HSE, show that a total of 310 children who have disappeared from HSE hostel-style accommodation over the last seven years remain unaccounted for.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sinn Féin backs No vote to Lisbon

Sinn Féin tonight officially backed a No vote in the second Lisbon Treaty referendum.

At a meeting of the party’s ard chomhairle president Gerry Adams said it would be formally launching its campaign against the controversial treaty this week.

“This was a bad treaty when last it was presented,” Mr Adams said.

“The people said no. Exactly the same treaty is being presented once again.”

Friday, August 7, 2009

Unemployment now at 12.2%

A further 10,500 people signed on to the Live Register in July bringing the standardised unemployment rate to 12.2 per cent, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The unemployment rate is now at its highest since April 1995 and up from just 6.4 per cent a year ago.

Some Romanians who fled attacks return to North

MORE THAN 10 of the 114 members of the Roma community who fled Northern Ireland after a number of racist attacks on them in south Belfast in June have returned to the North, with more due to follow in the coming weeks, writes Gerry Moriarty.

The Roma plan to again take up such work as selling newspapers and washing cars. Their families are expected to join them before the beginning of the school term in September so their children can continue to be educated.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

156 foreign nationals deported so far this year

THE AUTHORITIES have deported 156 foreign nationals to their countries of origin so far this year – almost as many as were expelled in the whole of 2008.

Figures compiled by the Department of Justice show that 602 deportation orders have been issued so far this year, with 156 people being flown to their country of origin by the Garda National Immigration Bureau. Most of the deportees were failed asylum applicants.

The figures suggest a significant increase on last year, when 776 deportation orders were signed and 162 were effected.

A further 145 foreigners have been transferred to other European states this year under the so-called Dublin II regulation, which states that asylum must be sought in the applicant’s first EU country of arrival.

Of those who have been deported this year, Nigerian nationals (99) account for a majority, followed by Georgians (10), South Africans and Chinese (eight each) and Brazilians (six).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Only 28pc of jailed migrants sent home

FEWER than one in three non-EU nationals have been deported after serving a prison sentence here.

New figures reveal some 593 prisoners from outside Europe were released from the State's jails over the past eight years.

But just 168 (28pc) of those have been sent back to their home countries, leaving 425 former prison inmates -- many of whom committed serious crimes -- unmonitored.

Since May 2005, all non-EU prisoners have to be considered for deportation.

€39m a year spent on failed asylum applicants, says FG

THE STATE is spending some €39 million a year to house unsuccessful asylum applicants because of delays in the Government’s decision-making process, Fine Gael has suggested.

The party’s immigration spokesman Denis Naughten said that as of the end of June, there were 4,018 asylum applications awaiting a decision, either at first instance or on appeal, although there were 6,961 people in asylum accommodation.

Based on a reply from Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern to a parliamentary question, he calculated that housing the remaining 2,943 people cost the State almost €39 million.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ireland to accept Guantanamo detainees

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern has confirmed that Ireland will accept two detainees being released from the US internment camp at Guatanamo Bay.

The two detainees are expected to be two Uzbek men who are being freed by the US because they have been found to pose no threat to security.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Strain on rent relief as 32,000 foreigners claim aid

Recent figures, compiled when there were 89,000 claimants, show that 32,000 -- more than one third -- are non-nationals.

They show 7,638 Poles, 2,886 Nigerians, 2,108 Lithuanians, 1,512 Romanians and 1,318 Latvians among the highest categories of non-nationals being paid the benefit. People from 163 countries and territories, excluding Ireland, get the rent supplement.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lithuanian gets six years for Galway rape

A Lithuanian has been jailed for six years for the oral rape of a German woman in Galway city almost four years ago.

Darius Savickis, (aged 39) of Garran Ard, Doughiska, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the oral rape of the then 23-year-old woman on November 28, 2005.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Scamming cricketers foil immigration

Immigration officials have been stumped by scamming cricket teams from the Middle East who arrange matches but go on the run rather than play, it emerged today.

The Department of Justice said in the last year two teams, with players mainly from Pakistan and Bangladesh, caught out border control after they came to compete but never turned up for the innings.

Justice chiefs warned it has become a growing trafficking trend.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Asylum system broken - Fine Gael

The State has spent an average of €300 million handling and housing asylum applicants each year since 2002, according to new figures attained by Fine Gael.

Dennis Naughten, the party’s spokesman on immigration, said there are currently 14,131 leave-to-remain asylum applicants in Ireland and that, based on the current processing time of just over 2,000 applications a year, this backlog could take up to seven years to clear.

He said a total of €2.26billion has been spent processing asylum claims and accommodating asylum seekers in the past seven years.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

€152k - the bill for deporting just one man

The state has spent €152,000 deporting just one illegal immigrant to Ghana.

But the actual cost of the deportation is likely to be even higher, because the sum does not include garda overtime or subsistence payments, which have not been disclosed.

The Ghanaian deportation cost was 26 times the average cost of deporting an illegal from Ireland last year, which stood at €5,758, according to new figures. In total, 161 deportation orders were executed last year.

Details of the highest cost of a single deportation case to date this year have also been released. A man was transported to Georgia on March 27 last at a cost of €35,888.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vietnamese national gets suspended sentence

A man who converted a rented house into a cannabis growing factory has been given a suspended sentence on condition that he leave the country immediately.

Vietnamese national Thang Nguyen (32),with an address at Swords Road, Santry has been on remand in prison pending sentence for the last 11 months after a warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to appear at a previous court hearing.

“We have enough of our home grown criminals,” Judge Frank O’Donnell commented when he sentenced Nguyen for what he described as “a very sophisticated offence”.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Loyalists threaten ethnic minorities in North

Ethnic minorities have been issued with a chilling threat to get out of the North from young loyalists, it was revealed tonight.

A note to community organisations last week stated: “No sympathy for foreigners, get out of our Queen’s country before our bonfire night (July 11) and parade day (July 12). Other than that your building will be blown up.

“Keep Northern Ireland white. Northern Ireland is only for white British."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Polish employee pleads guilty to defrauding bank

A Bank of Ireland computer specialist defrauded his employers out of over €40,000 by increasing the overdraft on his girlfriend’s account, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

Wiktor Wolcaski (aged 29), of Castleknock Rise, Castleknock, but originally from Poland, said he needed the money because his girlfriend had an unnamed medical problem which he believed required an operation.

He initially raised the daily withdrawal limit to the maximum of €1,300 a day. He then increased the overdraft limit several times until it reached €47,000. Finally, he altered the credit rating to make it look more favourable to lend to.

Over the course of two months, Wolcaski went to ATM machines across the city daily and usually withdrew the maximum amount allowed.

Zimbabwean challenges refusal of citizenship

A YOUNG Zimbabwean man has brought a High Court challenge to the refusal to grant him Irish citizenship on grounds he was not of good character arising from his conviction for drink driving.

Noel Dick (23), Goldsmith Street, Phibsboro, Dublin, yesterday secured permission from Mr Justice Michael Peart to challenge the refusal of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to grant him a certificate of naturalisation.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Were immigrants paid to vote ?

THE validity of the local election results has been cast into further doubt after the discovery of another empty house which was given as the address for multiple immigrant voters.

There were 1,921 people added to the supplementary register in Longford town council area and almost half of them (961) were foreign nationals.

The revelation comes after the gardai launched an investigation into suspected electoral fraud in Monaghan, where more than 2,000 people were added to the supplementary register before polling day.

Two asylum seekers living in the Richmond Court Hostel spoke out to dismiss local rumours that residents there had been paid money to vote. Robert Munkoh and Nii Abladey, both from Ghana, said they had wanted to take part in the democratic process.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Immigrants being refused visas after losing their jobs

The Department of Justice has confirmed that all those seeking naturalisation in Ireland must be in a position to support themselves – and their families – without recourse to social welfare.

Record numbers of people have been applying for naturalisation in Ireland, with a total of 10,885 people seeking residency here last year.

During 2008, a total of 3,117 new Irish were granted citizenship but another 2,795 applications were declined, frequently on the basis that the person was not employed or amidst suspicions of fraud.

The sheer volume of claims – which includes close to 1,000 per month this year – has led to a massive backlog and a 23-month waiting period for decisions.

Around 4,500 Nigerians and 2,200 Filipinos have sought Irish citizenship in the past five years.

'Alarming' rise in stolen passports on black market

About 40% of the 100 passports being stolen in Ireland every week end up on the black market, a senior garda source has told the Sunday Tribune.

More than 5,000 passports were reported stolen in 2008, with this year's tally standing at 2,227.

According to the garda source, an estimated 2,000 of last year's stolen passports have found their way onto a flourishing international passport black market.

The real figure is likely to be higher, he said.

Chinese restaurant owner linked to 34 missing children

A wealthy Chinese restaurateur has been arrested in connection with a major probe into the disappearance of 34 unaccompanied Chinese minors whom gardaí suspect were trafficked into Ireland to work in the sex and labour industry.

Gardaí based in Dublin raided the restaurateur's three eateries, including a popular high-end restaurant recently refurbished at a cost of €60,000, in the north-east after receiving intelligence that some of the 34 missing children were in contact with the Chinese businessman.

The minors disappeared from accommodation hostels for unaccompanied boys and girls in Dublin city centre over the past couple of years.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

People are marrying for residency

The Department of Justice is concerned that sham marriages between EU nationals and non-EU nationals are taking place to enable people to get residency permits in this country.

Last year, the Government alerted the Latvian authorities that an unusual number of Latvians living in Ireland were marrying spouses from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Some member states, including Ireland, are concerned people from outside the EU are entering sham marriages with EU citizens and then moving to another member state in order to trigger a right of residency which is implicit in the directive.

Fraudsters flew in to claim dole payments

NON-national dole cheats defrauded millions of euro from the Exchequer by flying into the country once a month to sign on.

New figures obtained by the Irish Independent show thousands of foreign benefit claimants were investigated by the Department of Social and Family Affairs between October 2007 and February last year.

The vast majority of the claimants were from Eastern European countries.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

EU sets limits on Government's 'sham marriage' investigations

IRISH GOVERNMENT investigations into “sham marriages” must not encroach on European citizens and their non-EU spouses’ right to move freely in the EU, say new guidelines.

The guidelines have been drawn up in response to complaints voiced by Ireland and Denmark following a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 2008 in the Metock v Ireland case.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hunt Museum investigation urged

AN INTERNATIONAL Jewish organisation has called for a fresh investigation into alleged links between the founders of the Hunt Museum in Limerick and Nazi sympathisers.

At a conference on “Holocaust era assets” in Prague yesterday, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre said it wanted access to official archives and other materials as part of an independent investigation into the provenance of the 2,000 objects on display in the Limerick museum.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rate of overseas workers entering Ireland slowing

Ireland is continuing to attract workers from overseas, albeit at a slower rate than last year, according to new figures from the Department of Social and Family Affairs.

In the first five months of this year, the department issued 74,191 new Personal Public Service (PPS) numbers, of which 37,064- almost half - were issued to people from outside the Republic.

In the same period last year, 106,140 PPS numbers were issued. Of those, 38,837 were to people from the Republic and the remaining 67,303 recipients were from elsewhere.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

30% rise in racist abuse against foreigners

IRELAND is one of only five EU countries where an increase in racist crimes was reported, according to the EU Fundamental Rights Agency.

There was a close to 30% increase in the abuse, discrimination and crime suffered by foreign nationals, the agency’s annual report noted.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Romanian men jailed for rape

Two Romanian men have received five-year jail sentences for sexually assaulting a woman in Tipperary last year.

She had consensual sex with their friend, after which the two men came into the bedroom, locked the door and sexually assaulted her.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Polish man jailed for seven years on drugs charges

A Polish man who passed 100 pellets of cocaine through his bowels has been jailed for seven years.

Slawomir Wotjowicz (aged 34) carried the cocaine valued €67,984 in his stomach for money to help pay maintenance for his six-year old daughter by his estranged partner.

Mr Devally said his client excreted the cocaine 24 hours after his arrest at Dublin Airport on June 22, 2008. Wotjowicz with an address at Szewna, Zarze, pleaded guilty to possession of the drugs for sale or supply.

Wotjowicz told gardai his sister had become embroiled with Nigerians who were trafficking drugs into Europe and she directed him to a house in Amsterdam where he and another man swallowed pellets of cocaine before he was sent to Dublin and the other man to another European destination.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Loyalist paramilitaries begin decommissioning

Sources in the North are claiming that loyalist paramilitaries have begun to decommission their weapons.

According to senior loyalist figures the UVF has carried out a significant act of decommissioning while the UDA has either made a start to the process or is set to do so imminently.

And it is understood that other loyalist groups were well-advanced in preparation to hand over their weapons. The move – four years after the IRA announced it was giving up its armoury – comes ahead of Secretary of State Shaun Woodward’s August deadline for significant progress on loyalist arms.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Muslim school is slated

A TEAM of experts will be sent in to monitor the overhaul of a primary school which has been strongly criticised in the most damning inspection report ever issued by the Department of Education.

The unprecedented move follows a litany of shocking revelations contained in an inspection report into the North Dublin Muslim School in Cabra, which is housed in the former School for the Deaf.

Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe last night said the standards of management, teaching and learning at the school were "unacceptable" and that child protection policies were "inadequate".

The report -- seen by the Irish Independent -- will be officially published tomorrow. It reveals:
  • Taxpayers' money given to the school in the form of grants since it opened in 2001 is unaccounted for;
  • The quality of teaching of English, Irish and maths is "poor" or "very poor", with teacher morale "very poor";
  • Sanitary facilities are "inadequate;
  • The school is in breach of several pieces of legislation;
  • The school refuses to implement the music curriculum.
Separate correspondence, also seen by the Irish Independent, reveals that the school failed to pay around €37,000 it owed to the department.

Romanian Gypsies attacked

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — The thugs used bricks and bottles to drive more than 100 Romanian Gypsies from their homes in a wave of attacks. On Wednesday, the victims were sheltering in a community center after a church plucked them off a Belfast street.

The grim images from this week — families carrying possessions in bundled blankets, a mother clutching her 5-day-old baby — are more evidence of rising anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, but also of a situation unique to Northern Ireland: new fault lines in its tragic history of ethnic divisions.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Foreign nationals account for 20% claiming dole

FOREIGN nationals account for one in five of the people claiming the dole, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office.

Foreign nationals on the live register increased by 45,798 to 79,077 over the course of the year. The majority are from the EU accession states.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Local residents force closure of unofficial mosque

A mosque operating from a house in Lucan, Co Dublin, has been forced to close following complaints by local residents and the intervention of a local TD and a minister of state.

The Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI) has for the past six years operated a prayer centre at a detached house in Liffey Road, at the edge of a residential estate. It has now been closed after officials from South Dublin county council discovered that it had no planning permission, following a tip-off from residents.

Relations between locals and those using the mosque have deteriorated in recent months, with the residents’ association claiming that some of its members were verbally abused and one assaulted after complaining about illegal parking outside the mosque.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Unemployment rate now 11.8%

The number of people on the Live Register hit 400,000 for the first time last month.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, there are now 402,100 people on the Live Register seeking unemployment benefit or allowances.

It is the first time the numbers on the dole have ever reached this level. It translates into an unemployment rate of 11.8%.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cllr Liam Galvin: Unemployed eastern europeans should go home

ABBEYFEALE councillor Liam Galvin has called for unemployed Eastern Europeans claiming unemployment benefit to be sent home, stating that a week's social welfare money could cover their airfares.

Cllr Galvin also said that he believes that a considerable amount of fraud is also being committed through the wrongful claiming of entitlements on the part of foreign nationals.

"I am by no means racist, and I would like to help everyone, but I say that the time has come to take people aside and tell them that they had been very welcome here when the good times meant that work was plentiful," said Cllr Galvin.

New work permit fee angers migrants

Angry migrants who face new fees of up to €2,250 to renew their work permits let the Tanaiste know how they felt yesterday, writes Anne-Marie Walsh.

Protesters held a demonstration outside the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment over changes to the permit system that start on Monday.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mosque dream a step closer after donation

The Muslim community in Cork is one step closer to having a mosque following years of fundraising and an anonymous donation of €800,000.

The Cork Muslim Society was established in 1984 and 10 years later a house was bought in Cork city to be used as a Mosque and Islamic Centre.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

African local election candidates suffer racial abuse

Two African candidates standing in the upcoming local elections have been racially abused while canvassing in separate parts of Dublin. A death threat issued to one of the candidates is now under investigation by gardaí.

Zimbabwean Green Party candidate Tendai Madondo and South African independent candidate Patrick Map­hoso have both experienced racism on the hustings but say this has made them more determined to win a council seat and help change attitudes.

Welfare cheat tip-offs rise by 748% since start of recession

ANONYMOUS tip-offs about welfare cheats have increased by 748% since the start of the recession, according to figures obtained by the Sunday Tribune.

There were 1,735 reports received in the first four months of 2009 compared to 232 for the same period last year. Only 180 reports were received in 2007.

Tip-offs relating to those working and claiming welfare at the same time received the most significant increase, rising from 95 and 90 in 2007 and 2008 respectively, to 721 this year.

There were also dramatic increases in reports of cohabiting couples cheating the system and those claiming benefits from outside the country.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Libertas call to close borders sparks race row

A Libertas election candidate was last night accused of "playing the race card" after claiming Ireland's borders should be closed to stop any future influx of foreign nationals.

Raymond O'Malley, who is running in the European elections in the East constituency, said the borders should be closed to the 10 accession states as long as Ireland's high unemployment rate persists.

The Libertas candidate claimed over 29,000 PPS numbers were handed out to foreign nationals since January of this year.

"I think we've got to stop it. I think we have to look after our own people," Mr O'Malley said.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Nigerian fraudster gets suspended sentence

Olubuckolo Kilani (aged 41) of Hamlet Avenue, pleaded guilty to attempting make a gain or cause a loss by deception at the Credit Union on July 16, 2007.

The Nigerian mother-of-two has no previous convictions.Judge Martin Nolan said the details of the account were "murky" and he accepted that Kilani was making the withdrawal after being persuaded by "interested parties". He imposed a two-year suspended sentence.

Garda Alan Carroll told Mr Paul Greene BL, prosecuting, that the Swords Credit Union had placed an account under review after a suspicious lodgment had been made using a cheque altered from €3,500 to €35,000. They made attempts to contact the account holder but were unsuccessful.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

7000 asylum-seekers currently in the system cost €800 per week each

Currently, there are approximately 7,000 asylum-seekers at various stages of the application process in the system. Almost 5,000 are at first instance and appeal stage.

Fine Gael’s Denis Naughton said, despite improvements to the system, there was still a "significant backlog" and applications were taking a long time. He said a substantial part of the delay in processing asylum applications results from delays in processing leave to remain applications.

"While I accept they are complex, based on the current rate of processing, it would take approximately five years to clear the existing backlog of such applications. Is the minister of the view that this is unacceptable, particularly in light of the fact that €800 per week is spent on the court, accommodation, processing and deportation costs of each asylum applicant?"

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Asylum seekers to Ireland double the EU average

IRELAND remains a popular country for people seeking asylum, especially Nigerians, according to EU figures just released.

When compared to the population, Ireland attracted the eighth highest percentage of people from outside the EU seeking asylum.

This was double the EU average, but well less than countries like Malta and Cyprus, which take the brunt of people trying to get into Europe from Africa in particular.

A total of 3,865 people applied for asylum, with the single largest group – 26% or 1,010 people – coming from Nigeria.

The next single largest groups were 6% (235) from Pakistan and 5% (205) from Iraq.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Foreign names 'a hindrance to job-hunters'

Job-hunters with foreign names are twice as likely to be blackballed by potential employers than obviously Irish candidates, groundbreaking new research revealed today.

A study – the first of its kind in Ireland – showed employers were less inclined to give interviews to people from ethnic minorities even if they are as qualified as Irish candidates.

The joint report by think-tank the ESRI and the Equality Authority also found high-levels of discrimination here compared with other countries.Richard Fallon, Equality Authority’s acting chief, warned: “It does prove that a very old ghost of discrimination still haunts us.

“Moreover you’re twice as likely to encounter this spectre with a non-Irish surname than with an identifiably Irish one, that’s even with Irish citizenship and with Irish qualifications.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Deportation bill of €6.8m over past five years

THE state has spent more than €6.8m during the past five years on flights to send failed asylum-seekers back to their home countries.

However, although the number of deportations has continually fallen, the cost of repatriation rose in 2008, with a total of €920,000 spent last year.

The average cost of each deportation – over half of which involved a transfer to another EU state – is now running in the order of €2,500.

The Department of Justice said that a total of 433 people were removed from the state last year, the majority to other European countries.

Figures show that just 162 people were actually re­moved to their country of origin, mainly aboard large-scale deportation charters to Nigeria and other countries in Africa.

Another 271 people were escorted from the country to other EU states after it was found they had already made an asylum application prior to arriving in Ireland.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Over 10,000 applied for citizenship last year

Figures from the Department of Justice show that a new high of 10,885 people applied for naturalisation in Ireland last year. In the same year, a total of 3,117 people were granted citizenship and told that they can remain here for good.

Another 2,795 applications were either refused or deemed ineligible on grounds of fraud or for not meeting the strict government requirements.

The volume of applications – which includes 2,179 new cases in the first few months of this year – has led to a massive backlog and a 23-month waiting period for decisions.

The rise in applications has been significant, growing from just 739 in 1999 to its record level last year.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Interpreters for gardaí are not vetted abroad

Garda Tom O’Sullivan yesterday told delegates at the closing session of the GRA’s annual conference in Killarney, Co Kerry, that the whole interpreter system needs to be overhauled.

Mr O’Sullivan said that in many cases agencies had hired interpreters after a short interview over the phone and without asking for a CV from them. Interpreters do not have to have any academic qualifications or accreditation. While those working for the Garda are vetted for a criminal record in Ireland, their backgrounds in their home countries are not checked.

The GRA said it has no idea if the people it is using are criminals and in many cases they have very poor English. It could not rule out the possibility that foreign gangs operating here had “planted” its own members to work as interpreters.

“The system does not have the safeguards to ensure that doesn’t happen,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Integration changes cultures - lecturer

Prof John Berry, of Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, said young people from immigrant or ethnic minority groups were sometimes expected to keep their heritage culture only in the private sphere.

“In other words, the public culture is the culture of the dominant group and all other cultures are down and out,” he said.

Prof Berry said most interaction with immigrants tended to take place in schools or in the workplace.

Both cultures would change as a result of this interaction, and “school, health and possibly policing will be changing here in Ireland”.

25 Nigerians deported

The 11 men, five women and nine children were removed from the country last night as part of an operation carried out in conjunction with Frontex - the European Union Border Management Agency.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New figures reveal 10pc of primary pupils born overseas

THE great ethnic divide in Irish education is revealed today for the first time.

Some 10pc of pupils in primary education -- around 44,000 in all -- were born outside the State but they are not evenly distributed across the nation's 3,200 schools.

A quarter of primaries, or some 820, have none at all, a half have up to 10pc and the remaining quarter have anything up to 70pc of overseas students.

Among the findings of the census of more than 3,100 primary schools are:

  • One in 10 primary school pupils were born outside of Ireland; 23,226 came from other EU countries and 20,703 from outside the EU.
  • More than 50pc of pupils in 12 schools are non-Irish.
  • Most Irish-language gaelscoileanna have either no non-nationals or only a tiny minority.
  • A quarter of the pupils in schools in Dublin 15 do not have Irish citizenship (7.7pc are from other EU countries and 16.7pc from outside the EU).

Libertas formally recognised as Irish political party

Libertas has been formally added to the register of political parties by the clerk of the Dáil this morning, according to a statement by the party.

The step follows a 21-day period during which objections to the application could be lodged, and means that Libertas may nominate candidates for any domestic election.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Romanian with "23 previous convictions" jailed

A Romanian father-of-one who was caught by alert security guards retrieving a skimming device and camera from an ATM has recieved a two-year sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Florian Lupu (aged 21), of Glenealy Downs, Clonsilla, pleaded guilty to possession of a skimming device and adapted camera at Beaumont Hospital on October 11, 2007.

Judge Frank O'Donnell had remanded Lupu in custody after hearing evidence in the case in March. He told Lupu, who has 23 previous convictions, that he had "shown consistent disregard for any strictures".

Judge O'Donnell suspended the last year of Lupu's sentence but said: "Word has to go out that people doing what this man did must serve time."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Recession blamed on drop in numbers of asylum-seekers

IRELAND'S precarious economic situation appears to be discouraging asylum-seekers from seeking refuge in this country, latest statistics have show.

Quarterly figures from the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) show 790 would-be refugees have arrived so far this year. Based on those figures, the total expected this year will be in the region of 3,160, a fall of more than 600 from the 3,807 who arrived last year.

The decline has been in the order of 22%, backing up claims made by former Minister for Justice Michael McDowell that many applicants were in fact "economic migrants".

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hundreds of migrant workers 'forced into sex industry'

Hundreds of young women trafficked to Ireland have been forced into the sex industry, it was revealed today.

A new study found more than 1,000 women are working in brothels – with up to 97% of them migrants.

Organisations which have already helped 102 victims of trafficking in less than two years fear many hundreds more are being sexually exploited in the underground industry.

Polish groups apologise for football hooligans

GROUPS REPRESENTING the 27,000 Polish people living in the North have apologised for the violence caused mainly by visiting “Polish football hooligans” ahead of the recent Northern Ireland versus Poland game in Belfast.

Under the umbrella of the Polish Community Forum of Northern Ireland, the groups issued a statement yesterday deploring the “intolerable behaviour” of the so-called Polish fans, and urging that the good relations established with local people should not be damaged.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tougher criteria for work permits

The Government has today announced it is to make it more difficult for foreign nationals to seek employment in Ireland by introducing revised legislation for work permits.

The changes, which are to come into effect from June 1st, will apply primarily to first-time entrants to the labour market.

Under the new arrangements, permits will not be granted for jobs paying under €30,000 per annum. Permits will also not be given for a number of professions including domestic workers and HGV drivers.

In addition, the length of time that employers have to advertise jobs will be increased and tougher conditions for the renewal of permits - including higher fees - will also apply.

A further change will see spouses and dependants of future work permit holders having to apply for permits in their own right.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

FF to join Liberal grouping in Europe

The European Liberal Democratic and Reform group (ELDR) is to approve Fianna Fáil’s application to join the group at a council meeting in Brussels on Thursday. However, Fianna Fáil will not join the ELDR until after the June 5 elections to the European Parliament, remaining inside the centre-right UEN group.

Senior Fianna Fáil sources acknowledged there were internal difficulties with the decision to join the liberals, which was announced by Taoiseach Brian Cowen at the party’s ard fheis last month.

Ahead of the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, Cowen is keen that Fianna Fáil consolidate its position as a pro-European party in alliance with the liberals. The European Liberal Democratic Party has 55 member parties across Europe, which include five prime ministers and ten commissioners of the 27 member states.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Search for Polish rapist in the midlands

A suspected serial rapist on the run from the UK authorities for 12 years was tonight being hunted in the Irish midlands.

London’s Metropolitan Police are hunting Pole Dawid Wysocki, who is accused of being involved in two brutal gang rapes.

Detectives have released a photo of the 30-year-old – also known as Andrzej Wysocki or Arthur Bryewicz – who fled London while on bail for one of the attacks.

It is believed he could be in hiding with members of the Polish community in Portlaoise.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Unemployment now at 11%

Another 20,000 people have signed on to the Live Register in March, bringing the seasonally adjusted total to 372,800.

According to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office, it is the biggest Live Register total on record, following an earlier record in February. Records began in 1965.

The CSO said the unemployment rate rose to 11% last month from 10.4% in February.

Union leader condones attacks on black drivers

A CORK taxi union which denies racism for refusing black drivers has admitted some of its members hurled eggs at the cars of Africans after they refused to respect a strike last week.

The chairman of the Cork Taxi Drivers Association (CTDA) said he fully condoned such behaviour and would not apologise for the continued policy of refusing membership to black African taxi drivers.

Interpol assistance sought in Izevbekhai fraud investigation

Gardaí are to contact Interpol as part of a criminal investigation into the case of Nigerian asylum-seeker Pamela Izevbekhai, who has admitted forged documents were used in a bid to resist an order for her family’s deportation.

Detectives from the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) will wait for Izevbekhai’s current Supreme Court bid to overturn a deportation order against herself and her two daughters to conclude before she will be questioned under anti-fraud legislation.S

enior garda sources told The Sunday Business Post that GNIB was ‘‘compelled’’ to launch an investigation where there was a belief that a forgery had been used in an application to the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC).

Foreigners targeted in clampdown on welfare cheats

THE Government is clamping down on social welfare claims from foreign nationals who travel in and out of Ireland to claim the dole.

Some 2,200 people have been investigated in eight areas of the country since early March, with 275 having their claims suspended at a saving of between €2m and €3m to the Exchequer.

Most of those investigated were in the 'high-risk' category of non-Irish nationals claiming a payment. In some cases, claimants were no longer resident in the country, or the money was being paid to an individual who was not a valid claimant.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Zimbabwean asylum seeker jailed for rape

A man has been jailed for six years for raping a Belfast woman in her own bed.

Tonderai Chakwana, 34, with an address on Belfast's Ormeau Road was convicted by a jury last month of raping the woman on July 18 last year.

He told the defendant - who is currently seeking asylum in Northern Ireland after leaving his home country for "political reasons" - he had not expressed any remorse for his behaviour.

Chakwana was also placed on the sex offenders register for an indefinite period and was banned from working with children.

Loyalist jailed for 30 years for gruesome murder

Sadistic killer Steven Brown was jailed for life today for the horrific double murder of two teenage friends.

The 28-year-old, also known as Steven Revels, was told he would serve a minimum of 30 years over the frenzied knife attack on Andrew Robb (19) and David McIlwaine (18) that shocked Northern Ireland.

The badly-mutilated bodies of the two teenagers were discovered on an isolated country road close to Tandragee, Co Armagh in February 2000.

They were found lying on the blood-spattered road with their throats cut and severe stab wounds to their stomachs.

Brown, from Castle Place, Castlecaulfield, was convicted of the barbaric attack at Belfast Crown Court last month.

Sentencing Brown today Mr Justice Gillen said that the murders were “among the most gruesome of the past 40 years”.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nigerian report contradicts FGM claim of diplomat

THE NIGERIAN government told a UN committee last year that the prevalence rate of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the country was 32 per cent, and that in some regions the figure was as high as 65 per cent.

This contradicts remarks by the Nigerian ambassador to Ireland this week that FGM was a “non-existent issue” in her country.

Insisting that asylum seeker Pamela Izevbekhai and her two daughters were safe to return to Nigeria, Kemafo Nonyerem Chikwe said: “FGM happens to be an ancient practice that is no longer in the consciousness of Nigerians. It is something that is completely insignificant in the present Nigerian culture.”

Immigrant stole €13k from her work to bring son here

A Filipino national, who stole €13,000 from her employer in order to bring her mother and adopted son to Ireland, has been given a three-year suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Sharon Colarina (31) with an address at Cardiffsbridge Avenue, Finglas, pleaded guilty to theft and making false entries in the accounts of the Guinness Store in Dublin Airport on dates between December 2007 and February 2008. She had no previous convictions and had not come to garda attention since.

Judge Martin Nolan said Colarina's crime had represented "a gross breach of trust" because she had committed "barefaced" theft from her employer.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Courts to examine Izevbekhai 'cert fraud'

Integration Minister Conor Lenihan said that the shock admission by a Nigerian mother that she used fake documents here to boost her asylum case will be fully examined by the courts.

Over the weekend, Pamela Izevbekhai admitted that she had used a fake death certificate for her daughter, and a forged affidavit from a doctor in Nigeria as proof of her argument that it’s not safe for her family to return to Nigeria.

However, Ms Izevbekhai has stood by her claim that she did have another daughter, Elizabeth, who died in 1994 as a result of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Ireland among slowest in Europe to grant refugee status

The Irish rate of granting refugee status to asylum seekers is well below the EU average, it was claimed today.

As Pamela Izevbekhai’s high-profile deportation battle continues in the courts, latest figures reveal Ireland ranks 18th out of Europe’s 27 countries for allowing asylum.

The Irish Refugee Council study backs up Government plans for a radical overhaul of the refugee system, which would see applications for various types of protection considered together under one system.

Robin Hanan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, said the single procedure needs to be well organised.

The report – The Single Protection Procedure – A chance for change – reveals Ireland’s rate of granting asylum stood at just 9.3% in 2006, compared with the EU average of 22.3%.

Some 3,866 people applied for asylum in Ireland in 2008, with a gradual fall year on year since the peak of 2002 when 11,634 applied to come.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Visa scam Chinese national jailed

A Chinese man who bribed a former Department of Justice employee to issue visa extensions to immigrant students in a "highly lucrative scam" has been jailed for two and a half years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Bin Yang (aged 26) referred Chinese students who had come to Ireland to study English but didn’t met the conditions for a visa extension to Dara Revins (aged 28), who worked in the Garda Immigration Bureau.

Yang, of Belton Park Gardens, Donnycarney, received up to €4,000 from the students for putting them in touch with Revins. Revins, of Windmill Road, Crumlin, would give them the extension and was paid up to €1,500 by Yang for each student.