Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Scheme to teach English to migrants goes nationwide

A Meath-based project which involves older people teaching conversational English to new migrants will be extended nationwide, it has been announced.

Some 147 people from 19 countries have taken party in the weekly classes in Summerhill, Co Meath. Volunteers are now working with students from Poland, Lithuania, Italy, Argentina, France, Germany, Moldova, Ukraine, Latvia, Algeria, Brazil, Slovakia, China, Spain, Czech Republic, Holland, Hungary, Sweden and Uzbekistan.


Monday, September 29, 2008

EU may foot bill for migrants who want to go home

A FINE Gael TD who was branded as racist for suggesting that non-nationals should be offered incentives to return home may have been just a little ahead of his time.

Yesterday it emerged that the Department of Justice is to look at way of tapping into a €629m EU fund that aims to pay economic migrants who voluntarily decide to return to their countries of origin.

The EU's Return Fund will be available to all member states to provide cash to non-EU immigrants who cannot afford to live here or who have failed in their asylum applications.

But the Department of Justice confirmed last night that officials were examining the rules of the fund to see if it could be applied to EU nationals who want to return home.


Only Irish girl in class

A seven-year-old girl who recently started second class in a school in Balbriggan,?Co Dublin, is the only native Irish child in her class. When Rachel Clarke joined her classmates in Bracken Educate Together school earlier this month, her mother realised she was the only child of Irish parents among the 20 pupils. Niamh Clarke says she was shocked at the sheer number of nationalities in the classroom.

"I felt like I was in a different country, like I was the outsider. At first we were the only white people there. Then when we did see white people coming along, they weren't Irish, they were Polish or Russian," she said.


Friday, September 26, 2008

EU free movement rule 'exploited'

SOME 4,600 people applied for Irish residency in the past two years on the grounds that their spouses were EU citizens from outside Ireland, including some 600 each from Nigeria and Pakistan, according to Department of Justice figures.

In a document presented to EU justice ministers in Brussels yesterday to show that Ireland faced a problem with "marriages of convenience", the Government pointed to the high rate of marriage between Latvians and immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. Ten per cent of all applications were from Latvians, and 50 per cent of them were married to Pakistani, Indian or Bangladeshi nationals, figures that were "so statistically abnormal that they cannot have occurred by chance".


Monday, September 22, 2008

Plan to regularise status of migrant workers

THE GOVERNMENT is to set up a programme to regularise the status of undocumented migrant workers in Ireland who previously held work permits.

Senior officials told unions and employers at social partnership talks last week that the scheme will be aimed at foreign national workers who have become undocumented through "no fault of their own".

The move appears to be a significant U-turn by the Government, which previously signalled that any such move could provide an incentive for illegal immigration.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Eurosceptics to help Ganley if he is MEP candidate

LIBERTAS FOUNDER Declan Ganley has recruited two of Europe's most prominent Eurosceptics to help him if he decides to run in next year's European elections. He will travel to Paris tomorrow to speak at an event organised by a French Eurosceptic party, the Movement for France (MPF), to bolster his European links.

The former veteran Danish MEP Jens-Peter Bonde and Czech president Václav Klaus have pledged to support Mr Ganley to launch Libertas as a pan-EU political party. Both are ardent opponents of the EU and have tirelessly campaigned against policies that enable the EU to expand its activities beyond a common market.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Rules on referendum coverage criticised

RULES WHICH mean that opposing sides in a referendum must get equal coverage are a "charter for every awkward squad", a Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) conference heard yesterday.

Today FM chief executive Willie O'Reilly, who is chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI), said the requirement gave the No side in the Lisbon Treaty referendum more credibility and less scrutiny than it deserved.

Mr O'Reilly said there was a clear discrepancy between the mandate of the Yes side, which included all the major political parties with the exception of Sinn Féin, and the No side, which largely comprised groups that were not elected, citing the example of Libertas founder Declan Ganley.

"We need to look at how a charismatic person with funding that was questionable was elevated by default by the media into a position of leading what seemed to be a nationwide campaign, yet that person had no mandate," he said.


Libertas will have to 'come clean' over campaign funds

THE Government is planning a clampdown on organisations such as Declan Ganley's Libertas to force them to say where they get the money they spend on political campaigns.

After months of speculation about the source of Libertas' funding for its estimated spend of over €1m on the 'No to Lisbon' campaign, Mr Ganley admitted for the first time yesterday that he lent his organisation €200,000.

Meanwhile, the Government's attacks on Mr Ganley intensified yesterday when a minister branded the wealthy Libertas chief a "class-A hypocrite".


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Redundancies on the cards for 20pc of firms

A FIFTH of companies said they are likely to make people redundant in the next year, according to a new survey.

And competition for jobs is heating up as more than half of employers have said there has been a huge increase in the amount of CVs being sent to them in the first six months of the year.

The current climate will make it especially difficult for new graduates to find jobs, according to recruitment agency urHired and market research company Focus One.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Al Jazeera TV focus on Irish family who want hijab in schools

ARABIC news network Al Jazeera has taken an active interest in the plight of an Irish girl who wants to wear a religious headscarf to school.

The Egan family from Wexford, who were caught up in the row over the wearing of the hijab in Irish schools have been featured on the Al Jazeera English channel.

Mr Egan has accused the Government of repressing minority rights while "flaunting itself as the bastion of democracy".

The father of the young schoolgirl spoke to the news network and said that, "It is time the world witnessed the true face of Ireland.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Study on children and racism

TWO studies on children’s experiences of racism in Ireland are to be undertaken by Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT).

As concern grows that the economic downturn may prompt a shift in attitudes towards migrants and an increase in racism, the institute’s Centre for Social and Family Research has won research contracts worth €250,000 to study Polish migrants in Ireland and the effect of modern lifestyles on migrant children.


C of I priest says racism 'sanctioned' by the State

A senior Church of Ireland priest has claimed that Ireland is a society where racism is officially sanctioned, approved and legislated for.

Speaking in Saint George and Saint Thomas Church, Dublin, yesterday, on Racial Justice Sunday, Canon Patrick Comerford said he was ashamed at the treatment by Garda National Immigration officials of a visiting Catholic priest from Nigeria.

Canon Comerford was referring to publicity surrounding how the Nigerian priest, Father John Achebe, was stopped at Dublin airport last Tuesday night, and his passport was confiscated.

"We are living in a society where racism is officially sanctioned, approved and legislated for."


Sunday, September 14, 2008

The elite and governed on migration collision course

With one in eight of us worried about our job security, it may be time for some restrictions.

The jobs of the elites -- professionals and public-sector workers -- are largely insulated from displacement.

For them, immigration means cheaper au pairs and faster service in restaurants. The jobs of the governed aren't.

For them, immigration means losing your job to someone with far lower expectations. The elites have a cosmopolitan outlook. To them, our religion and the Irish language are relics of the past. The governed disagree. They've travelled abroad and like foreigners and foreign culture. But they like the idea of returning to an Ireland that is recognisably Irish. On the 400th anniversary of the first one, a second plantation is sweeping the nation and the two sides may be headed for a showdown. If they are, the man in the middle of it all is Minister of State with responsibility for immigration, Conor Lenihan.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blacks face job discrimination: ESRI study

An ESRI analysis has shown that black immigrants are nine times more likely to be unemployed than Irish nationals and are seven times more likely to be discriminated against when seeking a job.

The report says that non-Irish nationals living in Ireland are three times more likely to have experienced discrimination while looking for work than Irish nationals.

In addition, all migrants from non-English speaking countries face a higher risk of unemployment, and report greater difficulties in accessing employment.

Immigrants from English speaking countries do not differ in their reported experience of discrimination from Irish nationals, while those from non-English speaking countries do.


Tighter immigration policy favoured by 66% - poll

ALMOST TWO-THIRDS of adults in the State believe immigration policy should be made more restrictive given the worsening economic outlook, according to an opinion poll to be published today.

The poll was conducted last week among a sample of 1,000 adults in the Republic. Some of the respondents were themselves foreign nationals, but they represented too small a subsample to be separated for analysis.

Gerard O'Neill, chairman of Amárach Research, said respondents had distinguished between their views of recent immigration - which were very positive - and their concerns about future levels.

"People are now saying we couldn't continue as we have been given the new economic realities that we're facing. It's saying there isn't a problem now, but there's a concern that were things to continue at a pace similar to the past 10 years, then it may well give rise to a problem," he added.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Govt to receive Lisbon vote research

The Government is due to get the final version of research, which was carried out to assess why people voted no to the Lisbon Treaty, next week.

But the Minister for Foreign Affairs has said it is already clear that the fear of conscription into a European army was a much bigger issue than previously thought.

He also said the Government has been asked by a number of US companies if the vote meant Ireland might leave the EU, and whether they should continue to invest here.


Friday, September 5, 2008

FG: Pay jobless migrants to leave

IRELAND’S 40,000 jobless migrants should be paid to return to their countries of origin, Fine Gael has urged.

The party’s enterprise spokesman, Leo Varadkar, drew heavy fire after suggesting non-Irish people on the live register, whom he claimed cost the State in excess of €400 million a year, should be offered a voluntary repatriation scheme.

Mr Varadkar denied the idea was xenophobic, adding it had been pioneered by Spain’s socialist-led government.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Budget pushed forward to october

The Government today decided to rush forward the Budget by almost two months to October 14 in light of the rapidly deteriorating economic situation.

With job losses, rising prices and falling tax revenue, figures released today showed unemployment has jumped to 6.1% - a 10-year high.

The Government, which today held its first Cabinet meeting since the August break, said moving the Budget from the first week in December will give clarity and confidence to investors and taxpayers and lay the foundations for a recovery.


Libertas may field up to 30 candidates in EU vote

MULTI-millionaire Declan Ganley yesterday revealed plans for an audacious bid to take his 'No to Lisbon' campaign across Europe as an organised political party.

The Libertas leader gave his strongest indication yet that his group would contest next year's European elections across the EU.

Mr Ganley again refused to say where Libertas was getting its funding from or how much it spent in the Lisbon Treaty referendum campaign.

But he did confirm Libertas was involved in preparing the ground for a European election run, and the group would need 30 MEPs from across the continent to be effective.

No firm decision has been made yet, but Mr Ganley clearly indicated one plan which would involve running candidates in several countries.


Monday, September 1, 2008

No recession for TD's as they get pay rise

ALL of our TDs will earn a basic take-home salary of at least €100,000 for the first time from today.

The boost to their earnings comes as Taoiseach Brian Cowen this week attempts to kickstart the collapsed pay talks.

The job of every TD is now officially in the six-figure bracket as the terms of a national wage increase kick in for workers across the country.

The 2.5pc increase is the final tranche of a pay rise agreed under the national partnership agreement, which has yet to be replaced by a new wage deal.


Disunity in the pro Lisbon camp

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has been forced to abandon plans for a new high-powered body to salvage the Lisbon Treaty amid ongoing disunity in the 'Yes' camp.

The Dail was due to be recalled this week to set up the cross-party committee to examine the outcome of June's referendum defeat and decide on the future of the treaty ratification.

But failure to reach agreement with Fine Gael and Labour has resulted in the plan being dropped.

Although it is widely acknowledged there will have to be a second referendum, the Government is aware it needs to keep the other 'Yes' parties onside.

The Government is now weighing up its options, but is not in favour of passing the problem on to an existing Dail committee covering European affairs. The move comes as pressure continues to be brought to bear on the Government to come up with a solution.