[Sinn Fein]

10th April 2003

Immigration Bill violates human rights

Ó Snodaigh calls on Government to defy EU Directive

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Justice, Equality, and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on the Minister for Justice to defy the EU and withdraw the proposed Immigration Bill debated at second stage in the Dáil earlier today. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``There is no doubt that immigration and asylum policy in this state needs a massive overhaul, to reflect a genuine commitment to equality and human rights, and Sinn Fein has called for a positive, compassionate, and anti-racist immigration and asylum policy. But the Government's new Immigration Bill is in no way positive, compassionate, or anti-racist. It also does not conform with Ireland's human rights obligations and may cause unnecessary deaths. It is a Bill of questionable legality being introduced under an EU imperative, to comply with the 1990 Schengen Agreement. It not only acquiesces to, but seeks to enforce the Fortress Europe Agenda something that Ireland as a nation should actively oppose as unjust and hypocritical. The Bill debated in the House today is totally unacceptable to Sinn Fein, and we strongly oppose it.

``Ireland must defy the European Directive and refuse to introduce such legislation as it violates international law. If we are then taken to the European Court of Justice, this would allow us to take the lead in challenging it at European level, as we should have done at an earlier stage. I urge the Government most strongly to reconsider this Bill, to withdraw it, and in its place to introduce positive immigration reforms such as those advocated by Sinn Fein.''

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