Monday, June 30, 2008

Non-Irish nationals living in Ireland - 2006 Census

People from 188 different countries were living in the State at the time of the last census in 2006, new figures show.

Of the 420,000 non-Irish people residing here on census day in April 2006, the largest group was UK nationals, who numbered 112,000. Poles were the second-largest group, followed by Lithuanians, Nigerians and Latvians.

The top ten countries accounted for 82 per cent of the total non-Irish population, and there were 44 countries – from Anguilla to Western Sahara – represented by fewer than 10 people.

The report of the non-Irish population, released today by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), also shows that people from countries outside Europe had higher overall educational attainment than Irish people in the same age brackets.

In general, foreign nationals were concentrated either in cities, particularly Dublin and Galway, or in the popular tourist destinations on the western and southern seaboards. Leitrim, Longford, Waterford city and county, Carlow and North Tipperary all had fewer than 5,000 foreigners, while Dublin City, Fingal, South Dublin and Cork County all had more than 20,000.

Full CSO Report

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fingerprint checking helps catch out asylum seekers

Fingerprint checks on a European-wide system have revealed that more than one in 10 asylum seekers in Ireland has already claimed refugee status elsewhere in the EU.

Staff from the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (Orac) have tightened their scrutiny of asylum claims and are looking for tell-tale signs from application forms that the would-be refugees have already tried elsewhere.

This is being backed up by greater use of the Eurodac fingerprinting system.
The authorities here sent 3,840 sets of prints to the Eurodac, according to ORAC's annual report, published yesterday.

The returns confirmed 468 "hits", which meant that, under the Dublin II Regulation, the applications must be determined by the country where the claims were first lodged.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Foreigners involved in over 40% of stabbings

Foreign nationals account for over a quarter of all fatal stabbing victims in the last five years. A report in the Sunday Tribune claims that of 100 people fatally stabbed in Ireland since 2003, 26 of them have been foreigners.

The investigation also revealed that foreigners have been involved as either victims or perpetrators in over 40% of stabbing incidents.

There have been five fatal stabbings so far this year, and four of these victims were not Irish nationals.

Earlier this month Mr Justice Paul Carney made controversial remarks linking the rise of knife crime in Ireland to the influx of immigrants into the country.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Just 20pc of non-EU prisoners deported

JUST one in five non-EU nationals has been deported after serving a prison sentence here, the Irish Independent can reveal.

Confidential new figures show more than 766 prisoners from outside Europe were released from Irish jails over the past seven years.

But only 128 of the most serious offenders were sent back to their home countries, leaving more than 638 former inmates unmonitored.

All non-EU prisoners are supposed to be considered for deportation since May 2005.

Deportations can take years if there is an appeal.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Media Dam-Burst: After Lisbon

Immigration as an issue was gagged during the Lisbon debate, but as soon as the result was out, the dam burst and all three Sunday broadsheets admitted that immigration had been a big factor in the result. Here is what they had to say:-

In the political equivalent of stagflation the spectres of recession, unemployment and immigration were the key defining factors in Ireland’s EU Tale of the Unexpected.John Drennan – Sunday Independent.

The trade union debacle in helping to vote down the Lisbon charter of workers' rights is more complicated and a bit easier to forgive. At the heart of it lies the thing which dare not speak its name - the flood of foreign workers.

If anything lost the treaty, this was surely it. The pro-EU leaders of the country's biggest union, SIPTU, simply could not get a `Vote Yes' call past their members.

The foreign workers are a phenomenon of EU membership, of course. But the details as to how they are employed, and under what terms, are in large measure a matter for the Government.

The cloak of social partnership hid deep disagreement between the Government and employers on one side, and the unions on the other, over the kind of labour market the Irish economy needs.

It is still Boston or Berlin, but no-one wants to say so. Had that argument been fought openly, and the Government admitted it disagrees with the unions, and thinks giving them all they want would cripple the economy, there might at least have been a chance for voters to distinguish the baby from the bathwater, before both disappeared down the plughole.Brendan Keenan – Sunday Independent.

There is also the great unmentionable in Irish politics- the political impact of the recent surge of immigration. The Nice Treaty opened up Ireland to the citizens of the other 27 members and, as we enter more difficult economic times, a new tension around employment, schooling and social services may be emerging. Most profoundly, immigration has changed the Ireland we grew up in, and its permanence is just beginning to dawn on people. Many see Europe as the principal source of this change.Tom McGurk – Sunday Business Post.

Few will admit publicly to voting no for this reason, but privately many politicians believe concerns among some voters about the huge influx of foreign workers – particularly against the backdrop of a downturn in the economy - is a factor in declining support for the EU in Ireland. To be fair to the No side, nobody even hinted at this as an issue but it was unquestionably there in the minds of some voters.Conor McMorrow and Shane Coleman – Sunday Tribune.

Let it be noted that none of these papers attended our press conference in Buswell’s Hotel on the 19th of March; RTE attended but never used the footage; the Irish Times did not take up our offer to write on their Opinion and Analysis page, although even the crime writer, Freddie Forsyth was welcome. A complaint to RTÉ was met with the response that their reporters had not found immigration to be an issue in the campaign.

Monday, June 16, 2008

EU Foreign Ministers vow to keep treaty alive

European Union foreign ministers said today they would keep the Lisbon Treaty alive despite Ireland's No vote, but conceded they had no quick fixes for rescuing it.

Their monthly meeting in Luxembourg was a first opportunity for EU officials to start picking up the pieces after last Thursday's referendum cast doubt over the survival of the treaty.

Speaking after the meeting, Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin insisted it was "far too early" for proposals on salvaging a treaty which will not now come into force on January 1st as planned.

"The people's decision has to be respected and we have to chart a way through. There are no quick fix solutions," he said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hoped for a solution this year and suggested a re-vote might be possible after adaptations to the treaty to address Irish concerns.

"There are thoughts about whether the Danish model of 1992 might be a model," he said, referring to wide-ranging opt-outs granted to Denmark that enabled the Danes to endorse the Maastricht Treaty after an initial referendum thumbs-down.

McCreevy says Ireland must not be bullied by EU

EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy says there is no question of Ireland being bullied by the EU into holding a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Speaking in Dublin today, he also dismissed speculation that the other 26 EU member states will ratify the treaty and leave Ireland behind.

Mr McCreevy said it would be an outrage if the other member states did not accept the decision of the Irish people, but he said he believed they would respect the Irish outcome.

He also said he strongly suspected that other EU member states would have rejected the treaty if it was put to a vote.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ireland rejects Lisbon Treaty

Irish voters have rejected the Lisbon Treaty.With results in from all 43 constituencies, the Lisbon Treaty has been defeated by a margin of 53.4% to 46.6%.

A total of 752,451 people voted in favour of the treaty and 862,415 voted against.

Just 10 constituencies - Clare, Dublin South, Dublin South East, Dublin North, Dublin North Central, Dún Laoghaire, Kildare North, Laois Offaly, Carlow Kilkenny and Meath East - voted in favour of the Treaty.

Jouyet calls for 'legal arrangement' if Irish vote down Lisbon Treaty

PARIS (Thomson Financial) - A 'legal arrangement' between Ireland and the 26 other members of the European Union must be reached should Irish voters reject the Lisbon EU reform treaty, said French secretary of state for European affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet on Friday.

Should they vote against the treaty, Jouyet told news channel LCI the most important thing is for the process of ratification to continue in other countries and to see what kind of legal arrangement can be reached with the Irish.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Primary school teaching kids about homosexuality

Books with gay characters have been given to pupils as young as five to read in class. And older pupils in sixth class at the same Dublin school have received detailed lessons on gay rights.

Griffith Barracks Multi-denominational School has become one of the first in Ireland to give children gay literature such as 'The Sissy Duckling' and 'King and King'

The move is likely to spark a debate on teaching about homosexuality, especially as the Department of Education said last night that sexual orientation is not on the primary school curriculum.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Agency workers set to benefit after EU deal

Up to 30,000 temporary agency workers in Ireland should benefit from the same pay and conditions as full time staff under a new law agreed by EU labour ministers early this morning.

Following marathon talks in Luxembourg yesterday, ministers finally agreed a deal on two related labour laws: the working time and temporary agency workers directives.

Under the agreement, agency workers should normally receive equal pay and conditions from day one of starting work. A flexibility clause included in the legislation will enable employers to negotiate with trade unions to try to introduce a phase-in period before full rights are received for some industrial sectors.

But in the absence of this type of social partnership deal the default position for agency workers is full rights from day one.

Monday, June 9, 2008

French Foreign Minister threatens Irish "NO" voters

France's Foreign Minister has warned that Ireland will be "the first victim" if voters reject the Lisbon Treaty in this Thursday's referendum.

In an interview today, Bernard Kouchner says Ireland had benefited more than others from the EU and Europe should be able to count on the Irish for support.

He says Irish voters would only be punishing themselves if they voted 'no'.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Over 90% of new jobs go to non-Irish nationals

Official figures show that employment growth slowed again in the first quarter of this year.
The Quarterly National Household Survey, published by the Central Statistics Office, shows that there were just over 2.1 million people working in the first quarter, an increase of 53,000 or 2.6% on the same period a year earlier.

The CSO figures show that 352,000 non-Irish people were in work in Q1, more than 16% of the total, while just over 21,000 were unemployed. Almost 40% of workers in the hotels and restaurants sector were non-Irish.

Non-Irish workers are tentatively estimated to have accounted for over 48,000 (90.0%) of the annual increase in employment and for 1,300 (14.9%) of the increase in the number of unemployed persons.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Anti-treaty voters moving ahead in polls

The pro-Lisbon Treaty camp suffered a devastating blow tonight after an opinion poll revealed the No side had surged ahead just a week before the country’s referendum.

Since the last survey the number of people intending to reject the treaty in the vital June 12 ballot has almost doubled to 35% while the Yes side has dropped to 30%.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Referendum Commission misjudges treaty clarification

THE independent body tasked with explaining the Lisbon treaty to voters endured an embarrassing moment yesterday when it was unable to explain a key section of the document.

The Referendum Commission held a press conference to “clarify” five key issues that had arisen during the campaign. In a press release it handed out, the commission explained that Ireland’s right to veto EU proposals would be removed in a certain number of areas if the treaty was passed. These included: “Arrangements for the control of implementing powers.”

Asked by a journalist what this meant, commission chairman High Court judge Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill appeared flummoxed. “As your question necessarily points up or implies, it’s quite difficult to be precise about what that means. There certainly isn’t a precision about it whereby one could say it applies to A, B, C or D.”

There then followed a lengthy silence, as journalists waited for the judge to expand further. When he did not, he was asked if he could clarify what areas of power were involved, to which he replied: “No, we’ll consider that and we’ll return to that later.”

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Changing times as school finds no Irish-born pupils enrolling

CHANGES in the population were brought into focus yesterday when a Dublin school revealed there isn't a single Irish-born pupil among those enrolled in its infant classes for next year.
The school is in the north inner city, where already nearly half the pupils are minority ethnic and language students, and that percentage is rising.

Figures from eight local schools in the Dublin 7 area show that there are 1,839 pupils enrolled this year -- of whom nearly half, or 855, are minority ethnic and language students.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ireland registers highest population growth in EU

BRUSSELS, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Ireland registered the highest population growth among European Union (EU) member states between 1997 and 2007, according to figures from a newly-published yearbook by the EU statistics office Eurostat.

The population of Ireland grew 18 percent in the 10-year period, compared with an EU average growth rate of 3.4 percent, according to Eurostat Yearbook 2008, which was unveiled Monday.

Quarter of building workers to lose jobs

A QUARTER of all construction workers will lose their jobs by the end of next year, a confidential new report reveals.

Massive job losses in the country's largest industry will send unemployment soaring and leave tens of thousands of young men on the dole.

A total of 65,400 of the 279,000 currently employed in construction will be forced out of work as the economic downturn worsens and the value of new property plummets.

The report, carried out by the employment and training authority FAS into construction and contracting, is one of the gloomiest job forecasts produced to date.

Obtained by the Irish Independent, it shows those set to lose their jobs include:

35,800 craft workers such as bricklayers, carpenters, and plasterers.

9,000 non-craft skilled workers (scaffolders, roofers etc).

10,600 general workers.

2,100 professionals (archi-tects, quantity surveyors etc).

Monday, June 2, 2008

Muslim anger at Opposition calls for school ban on hijab

MUSLIM girls should not be allowed to wear a headscarf in public schools, the two main opposition parties said last night.

Labour's Ruairi Quinn said immigrants who come to Ireland need to conform to the culture of this country.

"If people want to come into a western society that is Christian and secular, they need to conform to the rules and regulations of that country," the Labour spokesman on education and science told the Irish Independent.

His comments come amid mounting controversy over guidelines on the wearing of the hijab, commonly worn by Muslim girl in state schools.

His stance on the issue was backed by his Fine Gael counterpart Brian Hayes, who says it makes "absolute sense" that there is one uniform for everyone.

The Fine Gael education spokesman said the wearing of the hijab was not a fundamental requirement to be a Muslim, but more an example of modesty and cultural mores.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

State benefits to non-resident children soar by 2,000%

FOREIGN-based families of non-nationals living here will get a massive €15m in child benefit payments from the State this year.

The cost of child benefit payments for non-resident children to Irish taxpayers has increased by more than 2,000 per cent in the past four years.

The payments have been bolstered by the introduction of the new Early Child Supplement, which was introduced in 2006 and pays €1,100 for each child under the age of six to assist with childcare costs.

Under EU law, Ireland's Child Benefit payment, formerly known as Children's Allowance, is paid to 3,800 families in respect of 6,840 children living outside the country.

As a growing number of European nationals come to Ireland, the numbers of non-national workers claiming the benefits in Ireland has increased more than twelve-fold in the past four years.