Profound disagreements have erupted in the Dail, Ireland's lower house of parliament, over a contentious motion by the Rural Independents group, which demanded a halt to what they label as an 'open doors' immigration policy. The proposal came under fire from politicians on both government and opposition sides, with Minister for Integration Roderic O'Gorman accusing some of playing the victim by alleging they were barred from discussing immigration matters.
Proposed Motion Sparks Heated Debates
The motion noted a 37% rise in non-Ukrainian International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) residents, with over 26,092 individuals being housed in more than 200 centres across Ireland. The Rural Independents group urged the government to alter its 'reckless immigration policy' and called for an immediate cap on the influx of asylum seekers. They criticized the accommodation of unvetted single males from safe countries in small rural locations without consulting local communities.
Concerns over Increasing Immigration
Deputies like Michael Healy-Rae insisted on additional vetting and expressed apprehension about Ireland's ability to take in more migrants. Statistics reveal a surge in international protection applications, reaching 13,651 in 2022, representing a 415% increase from 2021. Georgia emerged as the top country of origin for applicants, despite being deemed a safe country of origin by the Department of Justice. Healy-Rae emphasized the need for a proper policy to regulate incoming numbers and fortify the borders.
Counter-Arguments and Government Counter-Motion
Others, including Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns, criticized the motion for fearmongering, particularly about single military-aged men. Sinn Fein's justice spokesperson, Pa Daly, underscored the importance of a regulated immigration system, while others highlighted the contributions of immigrants to Irish society and the workforce. A government counter-motion, which received the Labour Party's backing, underscored the positive contributions of Irish emigrants worldwide and stressed the need for migrants in Ireland due to workforce changes.