Saturday, March 2, 2024

Tánaiste Micheál Martin acknowledges public’s ‘concern’ over migration levels

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But Mr Martin – speaking at the opening of the €215m Dunkettle Interchange in Cork – warned that people fleeing oppression must be facilitated according to Ireland’s international obligations.

His comments came as an Ipsos B&A opinion poll found that 59pc of people wanted a more closed migration policy in Ireland.

While 48pc of people said migration had been positive for Ireland, 35pc said it had a negative impact on the country.

“There is undoubted concern out there amongst people in terms of the pressures on the country, as there are across Europe,” Mr Martin said.

“And I think what the Government is about – and what the Justice Minister recently announced – is to make sure that cases are dealt with quickly in respect of applications for asylum.

“And we have increased the number of safe countries where we believe, maybe, we have people who were seeking residency here on economic grounds…(they) can be dealt with more expeditiously. So there are strong controls in place already.”

The Tánaiste said the issue of migration was a challenge not just for Ireland but for other developed countries worldwide. “There is a real challenge across Europe and across the world,” he said.

“I am just back from the US – (there are) enormous migration pressures on all the major cities there.”

“I think what people want to see is an efficient and effective system here, which we have, to make sure that those who are not entitled to come are dealt with expeditiously.

“But then also that those who are seeking refuge from war and from intolerable oppression and so on, are facilitated.”

Mr Martin also insisted there was no specific meeting with Ms McEntee planned for this week to address the worrying spate of arson attacks on properties associated with asylum seeker and refugee accommodation.

He admitted there were mounting concerns at the threat to property and potentially to life from the spate of arson attacks nationwide.

“First of all, there is no specific meeting with Helen McEntee next week but obviously, in the context of the Cabinet and the various meetings, we will engage on the issue of course.

“As I said, we have to review all aspects of the campaign of arson that’s underway, which is unprecedented in the country, and which is risking life and limb and damaging property.

“In a democracy that is unacceptable. So I will, of course, discuss with Helen and other members of the Cabinet as well, and the leaders obviously will discuss this, as we do at our leaders meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) evening.

“The situation is unprecedented. There clearly is a campaign underway and we have to make sure that all resources of the State now are focused on stopping this and also dealing very robustly with those who are breaking the law.

“The minister is working very hard but in an unprecedented situation like this there is merit in my view of having a very comprehensive review of this in terms of the security aspects of it and really focusing in on it.” “The Gardaí have made some arrests already in respect of one or two cases, that my understanding, and we’re going to get a full update and review of the situation.”

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