Saturday, February 28, 2009

70% rise in unemployment in 12 months

THE true extent of Ireland’s unemployment crisis unfolded yesterday as official figures confirmed there was a 69% increase in the number of people out of work last year.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the number of people classified as unemployed jumped by 69,600 to 170,600 during 2008.

The unemployment rate rose from 4.5% at the start of 2008 to 7.7% by last November.

Clampdown on foreign workers as jobs vanish

THE number of work permits issued to non-EU nationals here has plummeted in the last six months as the jobs crisis here has grown.

Figures released by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment also show that some 2,236 applications to work here were rejected last year.

A large proportion of these would have been refused on the grounds that there were not enough jobs to justify allowing more workers into the country.

Tanaiste Mary Coughlan's department has begun a review of the work permit system in light of the economic crisis. Officials are now considering at least partially closing the door to immigrants which had been flung open during the Celtic Tiger era.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nigerian jailed for scamming banks out of over €13,000

A Nigerian tailor living in Meath who scammed financial institutions out of over €13,000 by opening fraudulent bank accounts and using them to make purchases has been jailed for 18 months at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Idris Akinlabi (aged 34), a strict Muslim and father of three, who has loans with several banks is unable to offer compensation partly because his wife’s Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, last year cost the indebted family a further €2,500.

Akinlabi, with an address at Moatville Estate, Athboy pleaded guilty to sample counts from a total of 17 charges which include: using false information to open current and credit accounts, using the accounts to make purchases and lodging falsified cheques and bank drafts at several institutions between January and September 2004.

More than 30 Nigerians deported last night

MORE THAN 30 Nigerian nationals were deported from Ireland last night on a flight to Lagos. The charter flight landed in Dublin carrying 45 deportees from the UK and seven from Switzerland and Germany before leaving for the Nigerian capital.

The Irish Refugee Council has called for one of the deportees to be allowed to return to Ireland to care for her two young sons, who were born here and who have Irish citizenship.

The 32-year-old woman, who had been living in Mosney, Co Meath, with the children, aged 2½ and nine months, was deported last night after her application for asylum was denied.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Plans to punish foreign drivers for road traffic offences are ‘unworkable’

PLANS to make it easier to punish foreign motorists who commit road traffic offences in Ireland are effectively unworkable, an Oireachtas committee has heard.

Transport and Justice officials yesterday said a proposed European Union directive to improve cross-border enforcement of road safety measures applied to a "complex and difficult area," primarily due to the different legal systems operating in EU member states.

The proposed legislation, an initiative of the French government, sought measures to enforce cross-border sanctions for speeding, drink driving, non-wearing of seatbelts and red light infringements, the offences which cause the vast majority of road fatalities and serious injuries within Europe.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Travellers and ethnic minorities 'most frequently abused women'

Women suffering domestic abuse are more likely to be from ethnic groups and the Travelling community, it was claimed today.

A new study found while Traveller women make up just 0.5% of the population, they account for 15% of victims of physical or sexual assaults.

Elsewhere migrant women, who represent 5% of residents, make up 13% seeking help in the face of gender-based violence.

The Women’s Health Council (WHC), which promotes health and social gain for women, called for protection from gender-based violence to be recognised as a human right.

Moldovan asylum seeker shoots fellow national in Dublin

A MOLDOVAN national being questioned by gardai about a shooting attack was last night under armed guard in hospital.

The suspect was detained by two off-duty gardai after an incident in which another Moldovan was shot several times in the chest and upper body in the car park of the Garda Sports and Social Club in Westmanstown, Dublin, around lunchtime on Sunday.

The two men arrived here separately as asylum seekers in 2001 and were granted permission to stay in the country under the Irish-born child (IBC) scheme, which permitted the parents of children born in this country to remain here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

European court ruling clarifies asylum law

PEOPLE FLEEING violence and seeking safety in the European Union do not have to prove that their lives are specifically under threat if they come from a sufficiently dangerous country, the European Court of Justice has ruled.

In an important clarification of European asylum law, the court yesterday decided that people seeking “subsidiary protection” because they fear for their life at home do not have to prove they have been personally targeted, if their country is seen as sufficiently dangerous.

Under exceptional circumstances, applicants can be allowed to stay in the EU because indiscriminate violence is so common in their home country that they would be in danger if they stayed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trade unions launch boycott of Israeli goods

Trade unionists are to launch a boycott of Israeli goods as part of a major campaign to secure a peaceful settlement in the Middle East, Stormont heard today.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) launched a report on Israel and Palestine compiled by senior members who visited the troubled region.

As controversy continues to rage over the death toll in Gaza caused by the recent Israeli military attacks, trade union leaders announced they are to hold a major conference this year to act as a springboard for their campaign.

Refugees allowed to contest refusal to let relatives join them

TWO SOMALI nationals who have been granted refugee status here have secured leave from the High Court to challenge the Minister for Justice’s refusal to allow them to bring their families to Ireland.

The plaintiffs and their families want the court to quash the Minister’s refusal of their application for family reunification under section 18 of the 1996 Refugee Act.

They are also seeking the Minister to reconsider as a matter of urgency the matter in a manner that is lawful and fair.

Monday, February 16, 2009

78 Burmese refugees to be resettled in Ireland

SEVENTY EIGHT Burmese refugees are due to arrive in Ireland next month after being selected for resettlement here under a United Nations scheme.

The group of 16 families, who belong to Burma’s Rohingya minority, left their country in 1992 and have been living in camps on the Bangladesh/Burmese border since then. They will spend six weeks at an orientation centre in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo to prepare them for permanent resettlement in other towns.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chinese student charged with running brothel

A CHILDCARE student has been charged with running a brothel from a suburban house in west Dublin.

Mei Zhou (25) is facing a charge of managing a brothel over a two-month period last year.

She was remanded on bail at Tallaght District Court after being arrested by arrangement.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Immigrants not factored into job loss estimates

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen's prediction last Wednesday that unemployment could hit 400,000 by the end of this year came despite the Government making no provision for Irish and non-Irish nationals who may leave or enter the country as a result of the global downturn, the Sunday Independent has learned.

Given the failure by government officials to factor in any estimates on the expected outflow of workers who lose their jobs during 2009, Mr Cowen's grim forecast could yet turn out to be hopelessly optimistic to the tune of tens of thousands.

For in the case of non-Irish nationals from Eastern Europe, being unemployed in Ireland could still present a more attractive option than a return to one's home country.

Asylum cost to the taxpayer

MORE than €330m has been spent housing asylum seekers at guesthouses, hostels and other accommodation centres in the past five years.

The Reception and Integration Agency has paid an average of €67.5m each year since 2003 housing asylum seekers in what are known as "direct provision" centres.

The accommodation provides food and board to each applicant meaning normal social-welfare payments are not made to individual refugees. However, while the asylum seekers must get by on just €19 a week, the "asylum business" has made millionaires of dozens of property owners.

Migrant job losses up 142pc

The number of foreign nationals claiming unemployment benefits has jumped by 142pc in the past year, compared to 70pc for Irish citizens during the same period.

Almost one-fifth of the total 327,861 people currently on the Live Register are foreign nationals, according to the CSO.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Polish journalist predicts race hate

Dublin-based Polish journalist Izabela Chudzicka said she predicts racist trouble in the country in the coming months.

I think there is a big problem with racism that will accelerate right now because of the job situation," said Izabela.

"A few years ago we talked about, 'Are the foreigners taking jobs from Irish people?' when there was no problem with it whatsoever. Imagine what will happen now when there is actually a problem with jobs."

"I had to straightaway get to know the culture, get to know the Irish what they are like," she said. "Now what I find, since 2004/2005 people started coming over, they lived with the Polish, worked with the Polish, bought the food in the Polish shop, got the satellite TV from Poland, they know nothing about this country".

TD calls for work permit clampdown

CALLS for a clampdown on the issuing of work permits for foreigners have been made by a controversial TD.

Noel O'Flynn, a Fianna Fail deputy from Cork North Central, published questions he tabled to the Tanaiste that appear to suggest "Irish jobs for Irish workers".

"What in the name of God are we doing bringing workers in when we haven't work for our own people?" he complained to the Irish Independent yesterday.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Unemployment rate hits 9.2%

Every job lost in the Irish economy is now costing the Government €20,000 a year in social welfare payments and unpaid tax revenue, it was claimed today.

The number of people claiming jobless benefits surged to 327,861 last month – a shocking 9.2% unemployment rate, new figures reveal.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said the extra 36,500 people who joined the Live Register in January will take €730m euro out of Exchequer funds over the course of 2008.