[Sinn Fein]

1st July 1999

Ó Caoláin calls for right to work for asylum-seekers

``Cattle would receive more consideration''

Speaking on the Immigration Bill in the Dáil today Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin called for asylum-seekers to be granted the right to work. He supported an amendment to this effect which was opposed and defeated by the government.

During the course of his address Deputy Ó Caoláin deplored ``the manner in which this government has dealt with the whole issue of asylum, in particular the right to work''. Referring to the way in which the Bill was rushed through the House today he said:

``I believe that if this Bill had concerned the import and export of cattle it would have received more consideration from this Government and they would have given more time for it to be properly and thoroughly debated in this House.

``I wish to record my opposition to the disgraceful manner in which the Bill is being rushed through the Dáil before the summer recess. There is clearly one purpose and one purpose only for rushing this Bill and that is to allow the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform to proceed with deportations.

``Will they start tomorrow and continue throughout the summer? This can now be done and what better time when the Minister and his colleagues will be able to avoid having to face awkward questions from Deputies in this House as frightened asylum-seekers are put on boats and planes and forced out of the jurisdiction.''ENDS

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