Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dramatic drop in deportations due to 'softer' approach

The number of would-be refugees being deported has dramatically fallen even though more than 6,000 failed asylum- seekers are classified as "evading deportation".

Immigration sources said it appeared a much softer approach was now being taken when it came to enforcing deportation orders, with only 43 people returned to their home in the first five months of the year.

Immigration sources said it appeared a much softer approach was now being taken when it came to enforcing deportation orders, with only 43 people returned to their home in the first five months of the year.

The numbers have shown a six-fold decline compared to 2004, when 599 people were deported. This year, the number is not expected to exceed 100, the lowest since large numbers of asylum-seekers began arriving in the state around a decade ago.



Friday, July 25, 2008

EU outlaws Irish residency rules

Europe’s highest court has ruled that spouses of European Union citizens who are not themselves citizens of the EU may live in Ireland.

The case involved four couples who appealed a decision by the Government to deport them because the husband in each case is not an EU citizen and has never lived lawfully in another EU state.

The ruling delivered this morning by the European Court of Justice said Irish laws, requiring a spouse from a outside the EU to have lived in another member state, were incompatible with a directive on the free movement of EU citizens.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

UK-Ireland border checks proposed

The first formal border checks between the UK and Ireland in more than 80 years have been proposed by the two governments.
London and Dublin outlined plans for identity checks on travellers that could involve a full passport inspection.

Immigration checks between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will also be stepped up to catch non-British and non-Irish nationals who travel illegally between the two countries, the paper said.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ganley tells Sarkozy that the Lisbon Treaty is dead

Chairman of Libertas, Declan Ganley, at a private group meeting with President of France and European Council Nicholas Sarkozy said that the Treaty of Lisbon is dead.

"During the meeting, President Sarkozy himself twice admitted that his own people would vote no to the Lisbon Treaty, as they have already rejected a very similar text in the guise of the failed EU Constitution. For President Sarkozy to come here and assemble a meeting of the successful no side and defeated yes side to discuss the treaty seems to suggest the people voted yes, this is a complete disregard for democracy. Last month the people of Ireland voted no, and their vote must be respected.

President Sarkozy listened to what everyone had to say - however whilst he says he respects the Irish vote - further assurances are needed that this is the case.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Mosque on Talbot Street gets go-ahead despite objections

AN BORD Pleanála has granted permission for the conversion of the three upper floors of two buildings on Talbot Street, in Dublin city centre, into a mosque, despite objections from local businesses to the development.

The Anwar-E-Madina mosque is the first inner-city mosque and the first to be located on Dublin's northside, according to worshippers. It opened last Thursday, after receipt of permission from the planning board, but it will not be permitted to broadcast prayers.

Dublin City Council had granted permission for the mosque last December. However, the decision was appealed to An Bord Pleanála by neighbouring business people who said the area, a busy commercial street, was not suitable for a mosque.


Crackdown on social welfare fraud announced

The Minister for Social and Family Affairs has announced a crackdown on social welfare fraud targeting Irish and foreign workers who continue to claim the dole despite no longer living or working in Ireland.

Ms Hanafin said today that claimants will have to sign on at post offices weekly, rather than have the payments made automatically to them.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland , Ms Hanafin said the Department had made an immediate saving of around €1.5 million in its investigation of some 2,000 people or about 10 per cent of those on the Live Register who were not currently living in Ireland or seeking work here.

She said that across the scheme of social welfare payments, officials were targeting savings of between €530m to €540 million.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New chain of brothels hits the suburbs

YOUNG Chinese women working in "massage" parlours which are advertised in the Irish Times were last week offering "hand jobs" for €60.

The establishments, styling themselves "massage centres", have sprung up across Dublin and its suburbs this year.

Gardai said they appear to be centrally organised, as all offer precisely the same services and quote the same prices.

All advertise with mobile phone numbers in the "massage and physical therapy" section of the small ads pages at the back of the Irish Times.

Of the eight operations advertising in a recent edition of the Irish Times, seven offered a "half hour" at exactly the same rate of €60 when contacted by phone. One young woman who answered our call volunteered that "hand job" was on offer for €60. Three others, when asked if more than massage was on offer replied: "Hand job."


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Immigration will settle down to manageable level "hopefully"

THE IRISH economy will still have a strong demand for immigrant labour after the current downturn, according to Minister of State for Integration Conor Lenihan.

It was also "incorrect" to say immigrant labour was "undercutting" Irish labour, he said yesterday at a function in Co Galway.

"The volume of people will now settle down, hopefully to a level that's more manageable."


Talks in progress on forming new Irish left party

DISCUSSIONS AIMED at forming a new and united left-wing political party in Ireland are "ongoing" and such a group may be assembled in time to contest next year's local and European elections, a prominent left-wing activist has said.

Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit Alliance said the success of a broad coalition of left, anti-war and trade union movements in securing a No vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum highlighted the potential for an established left movement, and he is working to form a new left choice for Irish voters.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Migrants from new accession states down 40% on last year

THE NUMBER of citizens from the EU's newer member states who registered to work or to access public services in the Republic fell by 40 per cent in the first half of the year, suggesting a significant easing of the inward migration flow from central and eastern Europe.

Figures released to The Irish Times show that just over 40,000 people from the EU's 12 newest members obtained a PPS number in the first six months of the year, compared to 66,500 over the same period last year.

There was a decline of some 40 per cent among Poles and Lithuanians, and the trend appears to have accelerated last month, with these countries showing reductions of 46 and 44 per cent respectively. Take-up among Romanians has fallen by 58 per cent so far this year.

The economic downturn shows no evidence yet of deterring highly skilled workers from outside the EU. Figures held by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment confirm some 4,900 work permits were issued in the first half of the year - 600 more than at the same point in 2007. These permits are granted for jobs that cannot be filled from within the European Economic Area and exclude labourers, childminders and most catering staff.

Among those granted new permits this year, the largest numbers came from India (1,383) and the Philippines (605), both of which are well-represented in the health service. These were followed by US citizens (415), South Africans (253) and Malaysians (233).


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Immigrant body lodges Garda complaint over Myers article

A COMPLAINT has been lodged with the Garda to investigate whether an article by newspaper columnist Kevin Myers has breached incitement to hatred legislation.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) yesterday lodged a complaint at Pearse Street Garda station, Dublin, and with the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI) about the article, which was published in the Irish Independent last week with the heading, "Africa is giving nothing to anyone - apart from Aids".

ICI chief executive Denise Charlton said in a statement that the council believed the article breached section two of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989.


Libertas may contest European elections

LIBERTAS FOUNDER Declan Ganley has confirmed that the group is raising money across Europe as it considers running candidates throughout the EU in next year's elections to the European Parliament.

And if Ireland voted a second time on the Lisbon Treaty, he predicted an even bigger No vote.
Mr Ganley made his comments before news emerged of French president Nicolas Sarkozy's reported view that the Irish electorate would have to vote again on Lisbon.

Speaking in Washington yesterday, Mr Ganley said a decision about running candidates in the election would hinge on the response by European governments to Ireland's rejection of the Lisbon Treaty.

"In terms of 2009, we're assessing the situation," he said. "Clearly, there is going to be a need to address this democratic deficit and, if the only mechanism available is the 2009 European elections across Europe, somehow the people of Europe need to be given the opportunity for a say on the Lisbon Treaty.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Repossession orders hit record high

THE High Court yesterday saw the largest number of applications from the banks for home repossessions so far this year.

Both Irish and foreign lenders filed cases for "possession orders", where loans had fallen into arrears.

While the majority of the applications were from Start Mortgages and GE Capital, a number of big-name Irish banks were also seeking the orders, including AIB and Bank of Ireland.

Judge Elizabeth Dunne granted eight repossessions yesterday, most of which were in favour of sub-prime lender Start Mortgages, which is a market leader for the sub-prime sector.

They supply loans to people who have difficulty getting finance from the high-street banks.

There were 19 new applications for possession orders before the High court yesterday, the highest so far this year. And, in total, there were 54 cases before the court, again, the highest number this year.

In the past, Irish banks have been hesitant to go down the route of repossession, due to fears of poor public relations as a result.


Dole bill trebles for Irelands EU migrants

The number of migrant workers from new EU member states claiming unemployment benefits in Ireland has trebled in 12 months as the building industry has entered serious decline.

Almost a sixth of those on the live register are now foreign nationals from EU or non-EU countries. Dole figures are surging upwards due to the economic slump, with growth likely to fall to near zero this year and unemployment rising to about 6%.

Some 38,500 of the 221,000 people on the live register are from abroad. Figures supplied to The Sunday Times show 15,500 claimants are from the 10 accession state countries that joined the EU in 2004, half of them from Poland. Another 10,000 are from the UK (including Northern Ireland), 10,000 are from other overseas countries (such as Africa, America, and Australia) and 2,000 from the rest of the EU.

The number of foreign dole claimants is up from 23,000 a year ago, but the number of accession-state claimants has almost trebled from 5,860 to 15,540. This is now the register’s biggest overseas category.

The Department of Finance has calculated that each unemployed person costs the state an average of €11,000 a year. On that basis the non-Irish claimants will cost the exchequer about ¤420m in a full year.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Africa is giving nothing to anyone -- apart from AIDS

No. It will not do. Even as we see African states refusing to take action to restore something resembling civilisation in Zimbabwe, the begging bowl for Ethiopia is being passed around to us, yet again. It is nearly 25 years since Ethiopia's (and Bob Geldof's) famous Feed The World campaign, and in that time Ethiopia's population has grown from 33.5 million to 78 million today.

So why on earth should I do anything to encourage further catastrophic demographic growth in that country? Where is the logic? There is none. To be sure, there are two things saying that logic doesn't count.

One is my conscience, and the other is the picture, yet again, of another wide-eyed child, yet again, gazing, yet again, at the camera, which yet again, captures the tragedy of . . .

Sorry. My conscience has toured this territory on foot and financially. Unlike most of you, I have been to Ethiopia; like most of you, I have stumped up the loot to charities to stop starvation there. The wide-eyed boy-child we saved, 20 years or so ago, is now a priapic, Kalashnikov-bearing hearty, siring children whenever the whim takes him.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Catholic Church supports ethnic integration in our schools

A radical plan to end 'white flight' from urban schools throughout the country has been put forward by the Catholic education authorities.

The Catholic Primary School Management Association accused some parents of bypassing their local school because they do not want their children to be educated alongside ethnic minorities.

CPSMA Secretary Monsignor Dan O'Connor criticised the minority of schools that told parents whose first language was not English that schools elsewhere had language support services.

Equally, some schools were suggesting to parents of special needs children that they take them elsewhere, he said.

The proposal follows comments by Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, who in April publicly criticised "good Catholic parents" -- who made decisions with their feet or with their "four-wheel drives" to opt out of diversity in schools.

Dr Martin disclosed recently that he had received racist and quasi-racist mail after he announced a decision to reserve places in two Dublin schools for children of immigrants.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Roma gypsy thieves in Ireland

GARDAI say a gang of Roma gypsy pickpockets, some as young as 12, who have been targeting tourists and shoppers in Dublin city centre over the past month, are believed to have left the country heading for new hunting grounds in Glasgow and Edinburgh. They are expecting new gangs to take their place here as the gangs are organised on a Europe-wide basis and co-ordinate their operations.

Gardai are angry that even though gang members were arrested and repeatedly brought to court, they were all released immediately on bail -- and went straight back to robbing women of purses and stealing money from ATMs in "distraction" scams.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

The A to Z of Irish immigrants

You don't have to be older than 30 to remember the days when a black man walking down Dublin's O'Connell generated wide-eyed stares and stunned disbelief. The Ireland of the 1970s was a time when people moved in only one direction: out, most with the intention of never coming back. So homogenous was the population, hospitals only had to worry about keeping sufficient stocks of the blood group O. It was a time when almost everybody shared similar genes.

Fast forward three decades to a country whose image has changed faster and more dramatically than any other in the Northern Hemisphere. Figures released this week by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) are colourful proof that Ireland really is Europe's rainbow nation. On an April day in 2006, when people in the Republic filled in their Census forms, there were non-Irish nationals living in every single town.

In their largest numbers, they have come from Britain, Poland, Lithuania and Nigeria.

As our economic well-being falters and the Celtic Tiger loses its roar, the constantly changing tide of migration is moving in a different direction today, two years since the Census figures were collected. Last week, the ESRI announced that more than 20,000 of the 420,000 non-Irish people living here will leave Ireland next year.
But hundreds of thousands will choose to stay and by 2030, it is predicted that at least 1.5 million people in Ireland will be foreign-born.


Friday, July 4, 2008

We didn't need full vote on Lisbon: FG

MEP Gay Mitchell has questioned whether the Irish people should ever again be asked to adjudicate on complex European issues.

The Fine Gael MEP asked whether a referendum was "the right vehicle" for issues such as the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

"People will say that he would say that, because he was on the losing side," Mr Mitchell told a Dail committee yesterday.

But he argued that now was "the time to lift the rock" on all matters. "We have to ask ourselves about this form of instrument of public policy," Mr Mitchell said. "Is a referendum the right vehicle?"

The Government had accepted the good faith of the Attorney General that a plebiscite was necessary on Lisbon, but Mr Mitchell said he doubted it was necessary for the whole document to be put to the people.


Number of people signing on up by 10,000 in June

The number of people signing on the Live Register increased 10,000 in June bringing the total to 217,400, according to figures released by the CSO this morning.

The rate of increase in the numbers signing on for unemployment assistance over the last 12 months is the fastest since records began almost 50 years ago, with the the construction sector slowdown largely responsible. Earlier today concrete supplier Readymix said it had cut 15 per cent of its workforce.

On Wednesday the Goverment said it would have to find savings of €500 million to fund additional social welfare payments for the increase in thise unemployed due to the downturn.
This requirement and a projected €3 billion shortfall in tax revenues in the exchequer returns will force the Government to borrow three times more than it had planned this year.

At the end of June the number of people signing of for unemployment assistance had risen by almost a third or 54,400 to 217,400 compared the same month in 2007. This is the highest level since September 1998. The monthly increase was the second highest on record.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Archeologists 'used to destroy Irish heritage'

Archaeologists working on excavations on the controversial M3 motorway feared they would be "sacked, blacklisted or bullied out of their profession" for not supporting the building of the chosen route, it was claimed today.

Speaking at a debate on the motorway near Tara at the sixth World Archaeological Congress (WAC-6) at UCD, Maggie Ronanye, a lecturer at the Department of Archaeology at NUI, Galway, said that pressure was put on site directors and field teams by archaeologists employed by the National Roads Authority (NRA).

"Lip service was paid to archaeology but archaeologists were used to destroy our heritage," said Ms Ronanye. "From the point of view of archaeology, the route chosen by the NRA was the least desirable and other routes were not properly considered because they were not profitable for developers."

Ms Ronanye, who recently claimed that reports submitted to the NRA had been altered, said that the building of the motorway posed serious ethical questions for archaeologists worldwide. She said she would be asking congress to pass a resolution calling for the re-routing of the M3.