Friday, May 15, 2009

Libertas candidate calls for block on immigrants

LIBERTAS CANDIDATE for Ireland East Raymond O’Malley has called for Ireland to close its borders to workers from fellow EU states.

Speaking on Today FM’s Last Word show with Matt Cooper, Mr O’Malley said: “I think a lot of people are very concerned too about the problem of immigration.

“While we’ve massive unemployment in this country, over the last five years we’ve had 500,000 people come in to this country and there has been a funnel effect.

When asked whether it was now Libertas policy to prevent any more workers from the 10 accession states from entering, Mr O’Malley answered: “Well I think as long as we have this rate of unemployment, yes.”

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Racism rife as Irish twice as likely to be given job

RACISM is rife in Irish companies, with a majority of firms twice as likely to give an Irish person an interview than a foreign national with precisely the same qualifications.

A study found discrimination is so widespread it would be "a one in a million chance" that the preference for Irish-only job seekers is an accident.

Researchers sent 240 pairs of similar but fictitious CVs bearing Irish, African, Asian and German names to companies and found the Irish applicants were twice as likely to be contacted for interview.

In some cases, Irish applicants were told the position had been filled but were offered interviews for other posts while African candidates did not get a response of any kind.

After an Irish and Asian candidate applied for an admin job, the Irish person got a call over her CV while the Asian candidate got an email saying: "I regret to inform you the position is now filled."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Integration changes cultures - lecturer

INTEGRATION IS sometimes used as a euphemism for assimilation in European countries, a senior psychology professor said during a public lecture at Trinity College Dublin last night.

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”.

Friday, April 24, 2009

High levels of racism uncovered in EU report

DISCRIMINATION against immigrants is widespread in Ireland and the country is one of the most difficult in Europe for minorities according to a major report.

The Irish Human Rights Commission said it is gravely concerned at the findings of the report, the first of its kind, which was published by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency.

Three out of four immigrants from Africa feel helpless in the face of abuse and discrimination that they say affects every sphere of their lives, from ordering a coffee in a cafe to having their children educated.

Even immigrants from other EU countries in central and eastern Europe say they suffer from discrimination with 25% saying abuse is widespread in the country, while more than half of them say they do not know of any organisation that could support or help them.

The figures released in Brussels, which the agency says is just a taster of the full report, shows Africans in Ireland among the top 10 worst groups in four out of five important areas.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ireland not doing enough to support refugees, says UN report

The Irish Government is not doing enough to support those who want to integrate into society here, according to a new report published today by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Many of those questioned for the report said they feel they are being discriminated against in the Irish jobs market because of their skin colour.

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.

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 split over new Brussels partners

FIANNA Fail's European election candidates were at loggerheads yesterday over the party's move to join a new political grouping in Brussels.

Euro candidate Ned O'Keeffe yesterday said he was "shocked" to see fellow party MEP Brian Crowley still expressing opposition to the party's move to join the liberal group in the European Parliament.

Fianna Fail is a member of the obscure Union for the Europe of Nations, where Mr Crowley is a president.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Government urged to scrap referendum broadcasting rules

The Government was today urged to scrap the rule demanding equal broadcasting coverage be given to the Yes and No camps in referendum campaigns.

The joint Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution claimed broadcasters felt they were being straitjacketed into giving the same air time to both sides, even if the opposition was tiny.

Eugene Regan, Fine Gael Senator, said last year’s Lisbon Treaty campaign showed the 50/50 requirement had destroyed informed debate.

All members of the committee supported the failed document, which is expected to be put to the people again in the autumn.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sinn Féin accuses Government of not consulting public on Lisbon

Sinn Fein is accusing the Taoiseach of consulting with his European colleagues, but not with the Irish public, on the proposed second referendum on Lisbon.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Veiled Lisbon threat from German Ambassador

THE German ambassador to Ireland sparked a new row over Lisbon last night as the EU planned a €1.8m information blitz.

German Ambassador Christian Pauls warned that the country would "throw away its future" if it voted no a second time -- as the European Commission planned an information campaign to encourage a 'Yes' in the Lisbon II vote.

'No' campaigners claim the money will be spent on EU "propaganda".

Friday, March 13, 2009

€20m in child benefits sent abroad

The Public Accounts Committee has heard that €20m in child benefit payments are being sent to support children living abroad.

Department of Social and Family Affairs Secretary General Bernadette Lacey said it was supporting 10,000 children abroad and this would continue until the child is 18 years of age provided that one parent is living and working in Ireland.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Libertas launches as a political party in the UK

The anti-Lisbon Treaty group Libertas has launched itself as a political party in the UK.

The party has said it will run candidates there in the European Parliament elections on June 4, as well as elsewhere in the EU.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Report accuses RTÉ of pro-Lisbon bias

RTÉ’s coverage of the Lisbon treaty was heavily biased in favour of the yes side, a report carried out by an anti-Lisbon group has claimed.

The study by the Campaign Against the EU Constitution (CAEUC), claims 63% of the contributors to RTÉ news items focused on the Lisbon treaty were supporting a yes vote.

Three television programmes (Six One News, Nine News and Questions & Answers) and three radio programmes (Morning Ireland, News At One and Drivetime News) were analysed via RTÉ’s website from January 1 to June 14, 2008.

The study found that out of 510 contributors to these programmes, 320 (63%) favoured a yes vote, while 190 (37%) favoured a no vote.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Latest figures show 10.4% unemployed

Brian Cowen told the Dáil this morning that more than 354,000 people were on the Live Register in February, up from around 326,000 in January.

The increase pushes the standardised unemployment rate up to 10.4%, compared to 7.7% in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Problems with rural integration - report

Not enough is being done to integrate foreign nationals into rural communities, according to a new report published today.

The report, Reaching Out, which has been compiled by Irish Rural Link, finds that prejudice about race and identity is a huge problem for people from abroad living in Ireland.


Monday, March 2, 2009

€4.5m in childcare allowance for children living abroad

The Government paid €4.5m in childcare allowances for children living outside of Ireland last year, new figures reveal.

The overseas Early Childcare Supplement payments quadrupled between 2007 and 2008 from €1.1m to €4.5m, the Department of Social and Family Affairs has confirmed.

This year, non-resident children are expected to account for €7m of the childcare payments because a massive backlog of arrears is slowly being cleared.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Social and Family Affairs said the claims relating to children residing outside of Ireland are complex because it is necessary to cross-check details with European authorities. Hence, significant backlogs and delays have occurred.

When the childcare payment was launched in 2006, it emerged that children of migrant workers who are resident in their home country were entitled to the annual €1,000 payment, even though it was designed to help spefically with childcare costs.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Unemployment up by 70%

THE number of people unemployed leapt by almost 70pc at the end of last year, prompting calls for urgent action to stop the haemorrhaging of jobs.

The number of people out of work rose by almost 70,000 to 170,600 in the final quarter of 2008 with men bearing the brunt of the job losses by a factor of nearly four to one as construction work dried up, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show.

The number of people working nationwide fell by 4pc, or almost 87,000, since the end of 2007 -- the largest decrease seen since the CSO first started its labour force survey in 1975.

The number of people working in Ireland is still over two million, but the unemployment rate has risen to 7.7pc and is now higher than the EU average.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Unemployment rate up to 7.7% at end of 2008

Ireland's official unemployment rate increased to 7.7% at the end of last year, according to the CSO's latest Quarterly National Household Survey.

The statistics agency says more than 170,000 people were unemployed in the fourth quarter of 2008, an increase of almost 70% during the year.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sinn Féin to campaign for another No to Lisbon

SINN FÉIN has clearly signalled it will campaign for another No vote in the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Speaking at the opening of the party’s Árd Fheis in Dublin last night, Sinn Féin’s Padraig MacLochlainn insisted Lisbon was the "wrong treaty" for Ireland and Europe.

Sinn Féin was the only party in the Dáil to campaign against Lisbon in the first referendum last year. Following the treaty’s defeat, the party said the No vote was a clear signal to the Government that the document had to be renegotiated.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Europe puts off Libertas decision

THE European Parliament last night postponed officially recognising the Libertas party after receiving a letter from the founder Declan Ganley.

Two weeks ago the parliament shelved a decision to recognise Libertas and grant it funding of more than e200,000 when two of the seven signatories said they never intended to support them.

Millionaire businessman Mr Ganley has now offered more names to the parliament president Hans Gert Pottering.

Mr Pottering has asked the parliament’s legal experts to investigate whether they can be accepted given that the deadline has passed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ruling allows refugees stay if they face serious harm at home

MANY more refugees afraid to return to their own countries should qualify to remain in Ireland following a ruling from the European Court of Justice which says they need only face serious harm if they return home.

As a result, an applicant does not have to prove he or she is specifically targeted if they return to their home country, but should only have to show that because of the level of violence he or she would be at real risk.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Swing in favour of Lisbon treaty

The latest poll shows that 51 per cent would now vote Yes to the treaty in a referendum, an increase of eight points since the last Irish Times poll in November, with 33 per cent saying they would vote No, a drop of six points. There are still 16 per cent in the “Don’t Know” category (down 2 points). When undecided voters are excluded, the Yes side has 60.7 per cent, with 39.3 per cent in the No camp. That compares to the referendum result last June of 53.4 per cent No and 46.6 per cent Yes.

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.

The weekly entitlement to jobseeker's benefit stands at over €200 per week here and matches -- and in some cases outstrips -- professional salaries in EU accession countries such as Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania and Latvia.

Taxpayers to fork out an extra €2bn next year

TAXPAYERS are likely to have to stump up an extra €2bn from next year as part of the government's plans to bring order to the public finances. It is expected that around half of the planned €4bn "adjustment" in the public finances for 2010 will come from extra taxes.

Informed sources say that the introduction of carbon taxes and increases in in-come tax rates are both "inevitable", while a property tax on every home in the country is "a distinct possibility".

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Unemployment is now at 9.2%

The Taoiseach has said that unemployment could reach 400,000 by the end of the year.

Brian Cowen was speaking after revealing the highest monthly increase in unemployment in more than 40 years.

Mr Cowen told Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny that an extra 36,500 people joined the dole queues in January, bringing the unadjusted jobless total to 327,900.

Deputy Kenny said the figures were horrendous, the worst in the history of the State, and that the Government's proposals yesterday did nothing to offer hope or confidence to those who had lost their jobs.