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 gardaĆ­.

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.