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.