Asylum

By | March 25, 2008

(Sunday’s column: this is the unedited copy – so a teency bit more ranty than that which appeared in de paper).

There are 33 million refugees across the planet. To hear some people talk, you’d think every last one of them would arrive in Dublin Airport tomorrow unless those two gardai at passport control keep their wits about them. We can relax. When people flee war, famine and systematic rape they usually run to another neighbouring poor country. If they are just hungry, as opposed to victims of violence, they’ll seek work in, yes, another neighbouring poor country. The world’s 80 million South to South migrants, as they are called, take the lowest, dirtiest jobs going in developing countries with a contiguous border to their own and send home whatever money they can to keep their family from starvation. They’d probably like to move to Ireland, but they there’s no way they can afford to. They’ve probably never even heard of Ireland.

So, yippee, we’re safe from the hordes of black “so-called” asylum seekers who in reality are “only” economic migrants. To be specific: last year the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner received around 4,300 applications for asylum status, 400 of which were granted. Can we handle 400 refugees? Apparently not. Apparently we’ve made it far too cushy for asylum seekers who are running around the country living it up with their social welfare and free flats. Don’t worry. The government has proposed tough new legislation to sort out the process and soon we’ll be able to ship those lying, free loading Africans back to where they came from in double quick time.

Chad on the other hand has taken, so far, 200,00 refugees from Darfur. I wonder can they handle them? With Sudanese militias attacking Chadaians on bordering towns, it must get a bit tricky at times. Oh well, that’s their problem. Give John O’Shea €50 and he’ll get them some clean water. Or something.

Now back to our problems, and in particular how to handle those cases of photogenic African women with cute children and sob stories about female genital mutilation. Or as Michael McDowell once called them “cock and bull” stories. Pamela Izevbekhai has two daughters, Naoimi (7) and Jemima (5). She had another daughter Elizabeth, but she died aged just 17 months from blood loss after she was mutilated in the brutal procedure that is common in certain areas of Africa including Nigeria.

In case you’re not familiar with FGM it involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. That can mean “just” cutting off the clitoris or labia minora. In Nigeria the version of FGM practicised is called infibulation. That’s where they stitch the labia majora together to seal the vagina, leaving just a small hole for urine and menstrual blood. The girls legs are bound together for several weeks so that it heals into a barrier. When she gets married the husband is then assured he has married a virgin. He’ll break the barrier either forcibly with his penis or cut her open. Whichever. I think its safe to say I’d get myself and my daughters to the other side of the world to escape that if I could. Especially if I’d seen one daughter die from the procedure.

It’s a terrible story and Pamela has won friends and supporters in Sligo where she has lived for the past few years. The story has been backed up although witnesses in Nigeria have been intimidated and are reluctant to talk about it anymore. But, as Amnesty International have pointed out, the facts are not disputed by the Irish state. They officially know. They just don’t care. Even if my daughters weren’t at risk of FGM, if I had the chance to get them out of a poor nation where they had few prospects to a rich one where they had some, I’d take it. After all, its what Irish people have done for 200 years.

Pamela has had a lot of sympathy and support though none from Justice Minister Brian Lenihan, who at the time of writing, wasn’t on for giving her a safe home in Ireland. You can see his point : if you let one in, they’ll all be over on the next flight.

Though there are many cases like Pamela’s, hers has received a lot of attention possibly due to both the prettiness of the daughters and the strength of her friends in Sligo. It has exposed something I have long observed about Irish people and our capacity to hold completely contradictory and indeed, hypocritical positions simultaenously.

Position 1. We can’t allow those Nigerians to come in here, living off the State with their made up stories. If we let some in, they’ll all want to come. The government should do something.

Position 2. That poor women. It’s so sad. She should be let stay. The government should do something.

Position 3. Sure, half of them aren’t asylum seekers at all, they’re only here after money.

Position 4. It’s not fair. My cousin in America couldn’t come home for her father’s funeral cos she’s illegal. The government should do something.

Give us a name, let us meet the woman and hear her story and we will literally march in the street to demand that she be rescued. But this year the government will push through the Immigration, Residence & Protection Bill which will cut out cumbersome appeals procedures, broaden the basis under which foreigners can be deported and insist that a foreigner who wants to marry either another foreigner or an Irish citizen can only do so with the permission of the Minister for Justice. The opposition will make a little noise about it but I’d bet the price of storing unwanted electronic voting machines that the bill will go through without too much fuss. Irish people can find compassion for individual cases but get panic stricken at the thought of “them all” coming over here and so support draconian legislation to keep them, and their stories, out of the country.

Whenever I’ve challenged someone on their desire to protect the illegal cousin in America and their complaints about refugees in Ireland, they’ll usually claim that the cousin pays his own way while the refugee gets services that are being denied to more deserving Irish people. Refugees aren’t allowed work and personally I find it morally reprehensible to let the people at the bottom of the pile fight it out for rent allowance for disgusting flats. We could put the electronic voting machines on a bonfire and free up a few quid for something more worthy.

Still that fear and resentment can’t be shifted. Why are we so afraid of helping these people as we sought help in our millions, in the past? What can they possibly do to us or take away from us? Money? We have plenty of money, just no idea how to spend it fairly.

Jimmy Devins and Eamon Scanlon are the Fianna Fail TDs for Sligo-North Leitrim. If the Minister for Justice thought one of them could lose a seat over Pamela Izevbekhai she’d have some chance of staying here. Their seats are safe but her daughters are not.

Update : Myers makes a good point today (loaded with all the usual provocative statements, but ANYWAY)

Two-and-half-years ago, a Nigerian idiot named Osagie Igbinidion was found not guilty of the reckless endangerment of life, after a little boy he circumcised, 29-day-old Callis Osajhae, bled to death. The trial judge, Kevin Haugh, told the jury not to bring their “white, western values” to bear upon their deliberations. Describing the case as a clash between two cultures, he added: “This is a relatively recent matter that Ireland will have to deal with now that we have a significant migrant population. You are not asked whether this form of procedure is acceptable in Ireland. If you start thinking on those lines, you are doing Mr Igbinidion a great injustice.”

Just one commentator in the media remarked upon this extraordinary case, in which a man walked free from a court having sexually mutilated and mortally wounded a little boy. Me. I wrote: ” . . . had the dead child been female, I believe that no jury would have been told not to bring their white, western values to bear on the case — or if they had been, we may equally be sure that the judge would not be dangling from the nearest lamp-post . . .”

I do not know what that fine fellow Osagie Igbinidion is doing today.

He has not, to my knowledge, and considerable regret, been deported — nor has he been issued with a court order compelling him to desist from his merry trade (he is a fourth generation circumciser; ah the joys of multiculturalism). So it is as legal to chop little boys’ penises off today as it was then, and if they die as a consequence, the judicial advice rings down the years, not to bring our “white western values” into the case.

But when the infant in question is a girl, then those white, western values are suddenly all we care about; hence the uproar over Pamela Izevbekhai and her two daughters.

66 thoughts on “Asylum

  1. Joseph

    I read the piece in the paper and was appalled with what you wrote. It is so typical and predictable, plus depressing to have it confirmed that otherwise intelligent and articulate people like you can and do so readily abandon their critical facilities and pander to the very worst sort of manipulation and nonsense. Frankly so much of what you wrote here is utter rubbish that it just disappoints me.

    Yep it is impossible to have any reasonable debate around this issue. Lies misrepresentation,hysteria and emotion rule the roost here.

  2. Fence

    I totally agree re the contradictory attitudes to illegal immigrants. I’ve never understood how people could think it was okay to argue for some sort of special status for our “illegals” over there and at the same time give out about other “illegals” living her.

  3. Andrew Lawlor

    The above comment, from someone who thinks it is clever to direct people to the CIA website when they seek to read more of his views, someone whose idea of helping Africans is to sterilise the entire continent if they don’t adopt an economic model acceptable to ‘joseph’s’ idea of how to run a country is hardly worthy of a response.

    So I will respond.

    Perhaps ‘joseph’, your dissapointment will be tempered by your comfortable lifestyle in one of the top five wealthiest nations on Earth. Perhaps you will sleep soundly in your bed knowing that our valiant Minister for Justice is preventing hoardes of Africans from coming here to mutilate your daughters.

    I mean we should really do something about these guys swaning around in top of the range 1990 Toyota Starlets, thumbing their noses at the decent hard working citizenry.

    Maybe if we did ditch the voting machines we could house the Africans in the empty warehouses and save ourselves a few quid. I could probably guess that you believe that assylum seekers are met off the plane with the keys to a new house, a year’s supply of Pampers, a new baby buggy and the keys to a taxed and insured car!

    You’re right, though, about one thing. When people like you inject pure bile into the conversation there can be no sensible debate.

  4. Philomena Connors

    I totally agree about that peculiarity of the Irish psyche. There is no consistency. I’m surprised the emmigrants stay here, they must end up with serious psychological problems trying to understand us. We should have those two garda hand out waivers stating they will not sue the state for therapy they may might need after living here for a period of time.

  5. Graham

    I’m not at all surprised by the contradictory attitudes of Irish people towards immigrants and asylum seekers. Since the mid 90s, it has been pretty evident that Irish people are out for themselves and nobody else. Health care? who cares, so long as I have VHI. Rent relief? no thanks, i don’t want my section 23 investment getting ruined by dirty students or lazy dole grubbers.

    This country has more than enough wealth to deal with thousands more genuine asylum seekers. Yes, the whole process of asylum application and appeal needs to be improved so that those who come to seek it can be given a fair and speedy answer so that they can then go about their lives. Allowing people to wait for months and years is unfair.

    For a people that have long benefited from the welcome in other states, I think it’s time we offered the same welcome to those in need now.

  6. Tomaltach

    Re: Myers. Yes, I remember that verdict now and I recall that article that Myers wrote.

    I still cannot get my head around the Judges reasoning in that case.

  7. Gerry

    I don’t see how Myers’ is a good point. A judge made a poor instruction to the jury so now.. what? We should/should not deport the girls? We will won’t because they are girls. We would if they were boys?

    Anyway,male circumcision is a fairly common, reasonably non-traumatic procedure in many cultures that is widely accepted. Female circumcision (more properly female genital mutilation) is a very rare, localised tradition with little acceptance outside of where it is practised, certainly traumatic and certainly misogynistic. Conflating the two does little to aid the debate. Female circumcision performed clinically with little risk to the patient would still be wrong. The same is not true of male circumcision or we should start rounding up the mohels of the world of which I am unaware of any call to do.

  8. CG

    Really, really great article Sarah. Myers’ does have a point. My partner spent six months volunteering in rural South Africa (near the Mozambique border) and indeed, the health standards for male circumcision are often almost as terrifying as the ordeal girls go through. There, the boys were taken out of the village en masse at the age of about 6, and circumcised in the bush without any kind of sterilisation, painkillers or whatever else. And quite often one little boy wouldn’t make it back. But of course the whole issue is so complicated because the kids WANT to do it, it’s part of growing up and their (very loving) parents want to do it to. So it’s not as simple as ooh, they’re barbaric…

    But Myers’ completely undermines his own point, firstly by ignoring the fact that while male circumcision improperly performed is indeed just as dangerous as female genital mutilation, male circumcision and female circumcision are just not equivalent. The entire male population of America gets circumcised as standard. Now there is an argument that it’s still wrong (and I wouldn’t want it for my kids) but it’s not the same as infibulation. Not by a country mile.

    And I wonder why (like with the Rape Crisis stuff a while ago) when he has a marvellous opportunity to ally opposition to male and female genital disfigurement, Myers chooses to pit men and women against each other as usual. How totally pointless. It only serves to deflect attention away from the very worthy cause he’s trying to champion.

    (Andrew sure don’t knock 1990 Toyota Starlets, I bought one off my granny last year and it’s great! 😉 )

  9. Tomaltach

    Gerry and GC,
    Myers didn’t draw equivalence between the two types of genital mutilation. He is drawing our attention to the difference in reaction between the the two cases. It is still a fair question to ask why there is such a huge reaction to the current case while a legal verdict was handed down in the Igbinidion case which, on the face of it, seems stunningly insane. (Leave your western values at the door, said the juedge. Ahem, where are we your honour, Ireland or Nigeria? The judge left his sanity at the door more like. )

    I believe that anyone who spends a certain period of time in Ireland should be allowed to stay. And all asylum seekers should be processed fairly and transparently. And I’m afraid I don’t know the facts of the current case. But one thing I will say is rarely on an objective examination of facts that certain deportations cases make the headlines.It is usually more related to having elements that make a story. Such as, and as mentioned above, the pictures of two lovely young daughters.

    Myres believes that when bad things happen to males in Ireland the reaction is different from when bad things happen to females. He has pointed out many times when this appears to be the case. And his argument is that a certain kind of thinking which says that females-only can be legitimate victims is promoted by what he calls the sisterhood. I’m not sure I fully agree with such a conspiratorial argument but there is no doubt that in certain matters – certainly those around the penal code, and around matters relating to parenthood – males and females would appear to be treated in a different way, and usually to the detriment of males. That is a fair point for Myers to make is it not?

  10. CG

    Tomaltach, here are some of the phrases Myers used that I think are particularly unhelpful:

    “it is as legal to chop little boys’ penises off today” (gross misrepresentation of what male circumcision is)

    “our “white, western values”… cannot, however, be invoked to protect a boy either from genital mutilation” (again, this is silly – circumcising young male babies IS a very popular western value – though it’s not an Irish value. But Myers isn’t interested in nuance).

    If it were just limited to this, I could accept that as you say, he feels that the issue hasn’t got the attention it deserves and he’s overstating his case and being (stupidly) provocative to get some attention for it. Fine. But he goes on to attack opponents of female genital mutilation:

    He undermines (with absolutely no evidence, of course) the risk the Izevbekhai girls were under: “And that girl [Ms Izevbekhai’s first daughter who died as a result of FGM] was 18 months old, 14 years ago. But her two surviving daughters had not been circumcised by the time they left Nigeria in 2005, when they were aged approximately two and four years of age, respectively.”

    And he goes on to make the absolute opposite of the point Sarah’s article makes (which is why I’m confused you’ve cited it so approvingly Sarah): “[A]re we to be the refuge for every single Nigerian or Somalia or Chadean or Kuwaiti woman who wants to avoid genital mutilation? So all they have to do is get here, allege that if they go home they’ll be circumcised, and then we must give them asylum: is that it?”

    To which my answer is well, yes. Why on earth not? As Sarah pointed out above, we’re NOT getting swamped by these women. We can afford to help them.

    I do not understand Myers’ problem with helping these women. Or his beef with ‘feminist-dominated quangos’. It’s exactly like he said with the Rape Crisis thing a few months ago. There are good support structures in place for women (because women have organised to get them); there are less so for men. According to Myers, the women’s organistions are to blame. How?? It’s a totally different issue. FGM in any form, is monstrous. But millions of American boys get circumcised each year – what happened to the boy in Myers’ article was a botched medical procedure.

    I don’t disagree with him that what happened to that little boy was appalling. I applaud him for raising awareness of the issue.

    But it’s impossible to read his columns and believe he’s actually raising the issue out of compassion for that boy and others like him. He’s done absolutely no research into male or female circumcision and in fact makes massive errors in describing male circumcision. He’s not bringing it up to fete the cause of young boys – he wants to have a go at, as he says in his first paragraph ‘the usual suspects — Amnesty International, the Council for the Status of Women, the Equality Commission, Aunt Thomasina and all’. And they aren’t the problem here.

    If he wrote a reasonable, well-researched article, if he was in any way constructive about the problem – then I would have a lot more time for him. As it is, he’s only looking to bash his usual suspects. To which I say, yawn.

  11. Joseph

    jasus it is hilarious the way the issue has moved on to a big examination and study of the whole private parts thingy. Sure that is just a waste of time as it should be irrelevant anyway. It has nothing to do with asylum, except is is just another tactic for people to use to get to stay here. Common sense would tell you. that. Going back to???? has nothing to do with that in reality.

  12. Joseph

    The comments by Mr. Andrew Lawlor above are too stupid to respond to so I wont bother with that. Instead I will address this post from Sarah and explain why I am so appalled and disappointed.

    Firstly it is all so predictable and it is like as if so many Irish people are incapable of independent thought and instead of speaking in terms of platitudes and high minded wishful thinking, we get a confused, often contradictory reaction to what boils down to common sense and simple honest talk that deals with reality as opposed how we might like things to be.

    In an ideal world there would be no poverty, little inequality among nations and WORLD PEACE! I for one am all for it! However a cursory glance at ALL of human history will confirm that while it is right and proper that we should wish for these things and indeed do our bit to strive to attain these things when we can -in the midst of getting on with our own life’s which are complicated enough!

    However let’s get a reality check here. We are discussing an issue stemming from a case of yet another Nigerian citizen wanting to stay here in Ireland for the clearly good reason that Nigeria is a poor, backward god awful country with a dreadful standard of living and quality of life.

    Educate yourself and be informed about this interesting and fascinating country of 135 million people. An aids rate of 5 percent [which naturally could not be transmitted to any Irish citizens and anyway sure none of the Nigerian citizens or any other African citizens who come here would ever have this or any other diseases-many widespread in Africa] plus all manner of social, political, ethnic and economic woes.

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni.html#Intro

    Whereas by an amusing contrast Ireland is one of the richest countries in the world and is KNOWN to be a SOFT TOUCH for the purposes of getting in and getting to stay in, as compared with virtually any comparable EU state or first world country in the world.

    Now there is a problem here, namely how to get to stay in this virtual paradise [by comparison with Nigeria that is – and it has been said to me personally by many Nigerians themselves- for laugh at us they do! and who would blame them- I say fair play!]

    Anyway to stay here in Ireland [goodness knows how on earth these people get in the first place, but as one American immigration officer remarked to a friend of mine “basically Ireland doesn’t have any immigration service or border controls pretty much anyone can get in” – How right he/she is!] what will be required?

    Well one well known and widely used ploy is to make a claim for asylum and refer specifically to a fear of female genital mutilation as a particularly media worthy tactic. Say you fear for your life and your children. Say anything that sounds dramatic and can help your case. Spin Spin Spin. Do whatever it takes.

    Get as much media attention as you can and of course prior to the time when you are refused and deported get as many people to make as much noise on your behalf as you can. Appeal to the best in people and manipulate people’s good will for all you can. Get a solicitor too! By now you get the picture!

    OK so let’s deal with the specifics here. Well now, someone who has two children who apparently came here in 2005 [hardly a wet day] we are not told how she came here and on what pretext = did she have a visa and how did she get from Nigeria to Ireland, bearing in mind that there are NO DIRECT LINKS between these two countries!

    In other words, let’s completely ignore the Dublin convention and waste vast resources on lengthy processes which drag out clearly bogus claims and in the meantime prey on people’s emotions and take advantage and play upon people’s innate compassion and sense of empathy. Milk that for all you can!

    So it is now being said that there is an issue about female mutilation and the safety of this mother and her children. THIS IS A BLATANT LIE!

    The impression given is that if she returns then a b and c will happen. NOT TRUE! Nigeria is a very very big country and divided along ethnic lines with plenty of places/regions in which this woman, and all the others like her, would not only be safe but would not have to even deal with this disturbing issue at all. It is like someone from Belfast saying they could not set foot on the island of Ireland for fear of …..Well you get the idea. It is utter nonsense of course and it is beggar’s belief that this is not only indulged but actually approved and promoted by the usual and same bleeding heart sheep who think with their heart and feelings but not their brain! Then make a career out out of vilifying anyone who states the bleedin obvious!

    I too find the whole practice of female mutilation disgusting and backward but hey I don’t have to worry about that in my country! Or do I? Well as K Myers points out actually it is a problem here to now! Thanks to our “new Irish” who not content to be living here feel compelled to break our laws and act out their own backward cultural practices. And then after killing [accidentally we hope and trust] some poor unfortunate baby, get off Scot free! YOU COULD NOT MAKE UP THIS SORT OF STUFF!

    So then what to do then? Well it is simple really

    Just enforce the Dublin convention and with the utmost respect and courtesy shown to would be chancers and the hordes who play this asylum game, explain that they are not only not welcome to stay in Ireland but that in fact they have no basis to be here in the first place and must be sent back from whence they came! oddly enough as it is clear they must have come to Ireland from a third country it is both logical and practical that they should apply for or make any claims in that third country and NOT IN IRELAND. They can apply for a visa in back Lagos and if granted they will indeed be welcome to Ireland. The key here is being FIRM but FAIR!

    However much people will be disappointed and frustrated most people who use their brains can understand that Ireland is an independent country with no obligations whatsoever to any country in Africa or anywhere else for that matter. Accordingly IT [the nation state we know as the Republic Of Ireland] decides who can and cannot visit or stay here. This is not subject to the individual concerns, desires and circumstances of any people. Rather it is just the way things are and we like it like that. What is there not to understand about all this?

    It applies blindly to people and countries from allover the world depending on the category the government has decided to put various countries in. For example if you are from Brazil the rules of entering will be in a category with many others while if you’re from Nigeria then that would be a different category. There are reasons for this and it is as it is! Some years ago Irish people needed visas to enter the USA, now we are part of a visa waiver program which is reciprocated by our government. As the rates of people from Ireland overstaying reached a certain level it was only logical that Ireland would be in this position.

    This brings me to the false argument and absurd comparison about the Irish in America. People of the greatest intelligence and learning routinely make this profoundly stupid assertion and comparison of the experience of the Irish when they were emigrants in big numbers.

    In the first place the USA and Canada or Australia are vast continental size nations and in the case of the former a nation with a huge population and capacity for the comparatively tiny influx of people from a tiny little country called Ireland. Now let us consider that these hordes of Irish. They speak fluent English and not only have good educations but culturally have also had certain affinities for the USA common values and huge amounts of shared norms and values, which is not to deny the very many differences too.

    But anyway I do not agree that the Irish people or government should expect that those Irish who go there and break USA laws [by overstaying] should somehow be exempt from the laws of that land. I say tough! It is not your country and so you have no automatic rights, other than human rights.

    People choose to go there and they are free to come back to one of the world’s richest countries anytime they want. The price you pay for being illegal is part of what you take on when you decide to stay on and choose to become illegal! Yeah I have sympathy the same way I have sympathy for all manner of things but nothing beyond sympathy. Life is tough sometimes. As the songs says. YOU CANT ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT but if you try sometime YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED.

    Sing it with me everybody! And anthem badly needed for our time and applicable to the issues we are discussing.
    YOU CANT ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT but if you try sometime you just might find YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED.
    YOU CANT ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT but if you try sometime you just might find YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED.

    This woman really does NEED TO BE DEPPORTED ASAP and the message go out that Ireland has wised up to the nonsense claims of bogus asylum seekers from Nigeria and Africa in general.

    Finally as an example of the sort of thing I objected so much to is the way Sarah gives stats about asylum but fails to give ALLTHE INFO directly relating.

    “To be specific: last year the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner received around 4,300 applications for asylum status, 400 of which were granted. Can we handle 400 refugees?”

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing to be sure! Firstly who cares if we can handle 400 refugees. The question is why should we! I don’t want it unless it is part of a UN approved operation like the Vietnam boat people or the Bosnians we took in back in 1990/1991/1992/ a specific and special circumstances. I am all for helping people when the opportunity presents itself and there is an actual imperative.

    As for the stats you give. Is it not most revealing that you do not give the figures for deportations? Although about 90% of asylum applicants are rejected and should be deported, only 1 in 5 deportation orders is implemented! So that 3900 not successful amounts to rather a lot more than 400! In any event your innocence is sweet. These people almost to a man are working in the black [no pun intended] economy while also being subsidized by the state. I don’t blame any of the bogus asylum seekers as they are only doing what comes natural to them and if I was in their shoes I would maybe be doing the same.

    I blame people like you and others like you, preoccupied with doing the right thing and been seen to do the right thing, as you all the screwing up of the whole country as regards immigration issues. You might as well not have any immigration services/officials as far as I can see. In practice we have an open border here and Asylum seekers are but one tiny element in a joke nation whose economy is based so much around exploitation and greed at the expense of social cohesion and any notion of having a harmonious society.

    Our future is bleak and it will be 20 years or less when we reap the rewards for the blind and shortsighted attitudes and policies towards MASS IMMIGRATION into this state under all manner of guises. We have let it all happen right under our noses. The rise of racism and all manner of social ills will be the result. The US and Them model of multiculturalism is a cancer that erodes the fabric of society and only divides people.

  13. Joseph

    Furthermore, a small but well placed minority of commentators have sought to create the impression that Ireland’s treatment of asylum seekers is harsh and unfair. They have consistently concealed the real facts from the Irish people. Moreover, they have sought to create the impression that anyone who points out the true situation is engaging in political racism. They hint at international comparisons which do not exist.

    They refuse to address the very large abuse of asylum protection in Ireland. They claim to believe that it is wrong to point out what is happening lest it create prejudice against genuine asylum seekers. They are engaging in a form of verbal intimidation of those who would tell the truth

  14. Frank Ryan

    Do the maths people , we are a country of 4.5 million people, taking immigrants from countries like china 1.3 billion, India 1.1 billion Nigeria 150 million Poland 40 million, etc etc etc etc , face it were fucked, Irish people may complain about immigration, but they certainly wont do anything about it , no the occupation has begun and will not be stopped by anyone or anything!!! our grandchildren will be an ethnic minority !!!!!

    Is that what we really want? Is that really a good thing?

  15. Frank Ryan

    Its a pure crazy system we have here in Ireland where by migrants can be here for years waiting to find out if they can stay, and yet at the same time we house them, welfare cheques etc. Open bank accounts and they tranfer cash from Nigeira to here or vice versa. I don’t see the Nigerians ridding bikes that for sure.

  16. CG

    Hahaha, the crazies are out in form now. I’m somewhat heartened that it’s not just your feminist posts that bring them out.

    I hope that guy who quotes long, irrelevant passages from the Bible shows up.

  17. Frank Ryan

    It is quite easy to just name call but that is pointless. What do you have to say and what exactly is it that you think is wrong or crazy?

  18. CG

    It’s not just easy, Frank, it’s fun, too!

    Ah sure I could point to your mad fearmongering that our grandchildren will be ethnic minorities – or your use of five exclamation marks in a row – but I think the fact that you acknowledge it in your own link says it all 😉

  19. Frank Ryan

    Well I too can be funny! hence the link but you see you do exactly as is predicted of your type – having no real answer to the points made u just misrepresent and give a false assertion about what has been said/wrote. fear mongering is the following “Is that what we really want? Is that really a good thing?”

    But the facts remain!

  20. Frank Ryan

    I just had a look in full at the piece by K Meyers and considering the title and issues of this post I find it amazing that Sarah choose to be so selective in her quotes and omitted the most salient part of all perhaps.

    ” There are many ancillary questions to this little affair. How did Pamela Izevbekhai manage to get from Nigeria to Ireland? En route, how many countries did she pass through where they don’t have female circumcision? Why did she choose here as a refuge from the barbaric circumcisers of Nigeria, and not somewhere closer to home?

    As for my own opinions on the matter, well, on the one hand the family has settled in Sligo, so a large part of me thinks they should be allowed to stay. But what if we are being duped? What if a baseless threat of circumcision is being falsely used to enable the Izevbekhais to stay?

    And even if it’s not, are we to be the refuge for every single Nigerian or Somalia or Chadean or Kuwaiti woman who wants to avoid genital mutilation? So all they have to do is get here, allege that if they go home they’ll be circumcised, and then we must give them asylum: is that it? And if we don’t, are we then to get the self-appointed cranks from Residents Against Racism accusing us of being racist, and then RAR will be rewarded with their usual quota of headlines?

    Meanwhile, the asylum-seekers’ little sons can still lawfully be genitally mutilated, right here in Ireland-of-the-Sisters, and maybe even die, because apparently that’s part of Nigerian culture. And naturally, not one of our feminist-dominated quangos will utter a word of condemnation.

    Marvellous, bloody marvellous. “

  21. Frank Ryan

    Personally I find it hard to say that someone here since 2005 could be considered settled. But thats just me?

  22. Tomaltach

    CG,
    Your proposal amounts to saying that we should accept any and all refugees fleeing persecution of any kind irrespective of the number involved. This idea is preposterous and impracticable. It is however, a splendid way to sooth a western liberal conscience.

    It allows no room for the real world, which, sadly, is far more complex. For example, you ignore the difficulty in assessing the claims made by asylum seekers. Very often it is simply impossible to say whether their claims are valid. Are we to presume every case is genuine without proof? That makes an assumption about the human being with which I fundamentally disagree. In any case, where would it lead us?

    If only the real world was as simple as the pretty little fixable one in CG’s head.

    You beg Myers to research and argue his points. You are misunderstanging his brief. He’s not writing a piece for Scientific American, nor is he writing a feature for the Sunday Times. He is a polemicist. It’s job to shock and provoke us into thinking about certain issues – even if we fundamentally disagree with his biased, simplified, or even erroneous analysis. In this, he has succeeded perfectly, even with you. Given the length you’ve went to engage about his article here, it is hardly credible that your only response to his work is to yawn.

  23. Anna

    Sarah, I too thought your column this week was woolly in the extreme. But you did mention you hadn’t been well.

    Hear hear Joseph! I don’t know why the waters are always muddied on this.

  24. Gerry

    cead mile failte indeed. can i point out that nigeria is in the western hemisphere, is largely christian, has many catholics all of whom were exposed at some point to irish priests. so the cultural affinty test is passed. I think that joseph really means is that they are black and we were white (when emigrating to america) and therefore a different class of immigrant.

    i am curious – the only numbers that could be described as ‘hordes’ in ireland are the poles and other East Europeans. Does their shared values and skin tone make them more acceptable? despite not speaking english like the nigerians? or should they all go back too? Should we close the brorders and return to the prelapsarian paradise that was 1950’s Ireland?

    Our obligation to refugees, economic immigrants and others less fortunate is as a result of our shared humanity – or does that not count?

    i’d forgotten the narrow minded, tight-mouthed, mean-spirited, small town, fear-ridden bigotry that has always been a feature of the Irish psyche. It’s always a jolt when reminded of it. Tuppence ha’penny looking down on tuppence. As if the great nations of india, china and poland are looking at ireland with envy.

  25. Tomaltach

    Gerry,
    Nigeria is a majority muslim country – 50% Muslim and 40% Christian, 10% other indigenous. 60% are not Christian.
    What do you mean by the Western Hemisphere. The term is cultural-developmental, not geographical. On that basis, how can it be Western?

    You ask Should we close the brorders and return to the prelapsarian paradise that was 1950’s Ireland? In fact, those who would answer yes to that are truly a minority. I’ve heard no major arguments for rolling back the clock or for a complete shut down of borders.

    Our obligation to refugees, economic immigrants and others less fortunate is as a result of our shared humanity. What does this mean? What kind of refugee – those seeking asylum from persectution or all refugees? All economic migrants? What obligation?

    And how far should we go? We are not responsible for the mess that is much of Africa. We cannot ever save it or even hope to come close.

    Frankly, I think this notion that we swing our doors open and solve the worlds chronic developmental and political problems is a mountain of utter nonsense. A pipe dream, a fantasy.

  26. CG

    Tomaltach, I’m engaging here, with Sarah’s article, not over at the Indo with Myers’ mess.

    You seem to have missed the point of Sarah’s article also. There simply AREN’T hordes of foreigners massing at the gates, waiting for us to let our guard down. We can support far more than we do. You are suggesting that we must preemptively prepare for a cataclysmic scenario where we are engulfed by lying women claiming refuge from genital mutilation. That hasn’t happened, isn’t happening, and is totally unlikely to happen.

    Who is living in a fantasy here? I am looking at real world Ireland, where we have the means (and indeed, the economic NEED) to support a considerably larger population. Now, I’m not saying I’d like us to support more asylum seekers on welfare etc – the fact that they can’t work is shocking.

    “Very often it is simply impossible to say whether their claims are valid. Are we to presume every case is genuine without proof? That makes an assumption about the human being with which I fundamentally disagree.”

    This is an interesting question. To my mind, if a person is claiming persecution (and women claiming refuge from FGM actually wouldn’t be the hardest case to prove I think, but anyway) and cannot provide positive proof of this, yet there is no evidence to the negative – yes, my inclination is to allow them to stay. You can’t produce proof every time. If your uncle in the army was spirited away by political enemies one night, they hardly left you a receipt.

    And I disagree that this is any sort of pipe dream. I am looking at things exactly as they are and yes, we can handle as much and more people than we have now. (We aren’t bearing a fair brunt of refugees at all. Sarah mentions this is her article – Ireland is REALLY hard to get to. We have a tiny proportion of refugees compared to even the border European countries like Greece, Italy, Spain – all in much worse economic shape than Ireland is to take such people). You are basing your objections in fear of a deluge for which there is no evidence.

    Nobody’s saying that this will solve all the world’s ills. How far should we go? As far as we’re able, which is a lot farther than we’re going at the moment.

  27. Tomaltach

    GC,
    I take your point — and Sarah’s — about the absence of hordes at the gate. I don’t believe our asylum figures are all that extraordinary high when compared to other countries – such as those you mention.

    You are right, Ireland is pretty hard to get to. But the proportion who will try is always going to be proprotional to how difficult perceived success is. The fundamental figure I’m missing is that I don’t know for example what percentage of ayslum cases can reasonably be shown to be false. (leave aside economic migrants for the moment).

    I could be wrong, but I think the figures attempting to get asylum in Ireland before we made it stricter and before we removed the birth right were a multiple of what they are today. My feeling is that Ireland was perceived as a soft target for asylum cases that weren’t valid. I could be wrong, and I would love if someone could point to a reliable source of figures or a study of asylum seekers and how many tend to be bogus cases.

    You see, you argue that “You can’t produce proof every time”. Which means we cannot check for proof every time. But this means you simply show up without papers and say the militia are after you because you speak Igbo, not Yoruba, and you’re in. In order words, if you allow that sometimes proof isn’t required, then it’s never required. What then is to prevent economic migrants from dumping their papers and pleading for asylum?

    Which brings us to economic migrants. I’m not sure I’d agree that we have the means and the need to support a considerably larger population. Our population growth in recent years has been among the highest in Europe and clearly our public services, which are in no pretty shape even to deal effectivly with a static population, are failing badly to meet the needs to the new population (not just in size but in nature, in terms of language and cultural issues). The economy itself is still in decent shape historically, but few would argue that now is a good time to have a swell in population. But that’s a digression.

    I think that much of the debate overlooks the difficulty of absorbing the relatively large increase in our population of immigrants. There certainly are cultural issues to deal with. Most can be done effectively but for example, while our current Minister talks a lot about integration, he doesn’t put his money where his mouth is. What kind of services are we providing for integration – right from planning whole communities and schools to delivering front line services. I’m not convinced we’re there yet. And I have a fear that in the event of the current economic slowdown becoming a recession that certain parts of Ireland could become quite hostile to foreigners. I certainly hope that recent events are not straws in the wind.

    About solving the world’s ills. I think that rather than pressure our public representatives to open up our gates and take more asylum seekers, we ought to be pushing them to confront the issues in the source countries head on. And example is where Minister Roche was on a visit to China when the tibetan demonstrators (and looters) were slaughtered. He said he wouldn’t raise the issue because that wasn’t why he was there! As long as we put commernce before compassion in this way, tyrannical governments will continue to produce the conditions where people need to seek asylum in the first place. Far better tackle cause, rather than deal with the consequences.

  28. Joseph

    CG said

    cead mile failte indeed. can i point out that nigeria is in the western hemisphere, is largely christian, has many catholics all of whom were exposed at some point to irish priests. so the cultural affinty test is passed. I think that joseph really means is that they are black and we were white (when emigrating to america) and therefore a different class of immigrant.

    “Well this really is a classic response that is all to common. So mind numbingly stupid that it is laughable. Take the following:

    “cead mile failte indeed. can i point out that nigeria is in the western hemisphere, is largely christian, has many catholics all of whom were exposed at some point to irish priests. so the cultural affinty test is passed”

    Are you completely insane? I think you will find that cead mile failte is generously extended to tourists and legitimate visitors to Ireland all the time and that we remain one of the most hospitable people around [amazingly, considering the transformation of the country over the past 15 years : not all good either].

    As for being catholic and Christian and the fact that some backward priests went to Nigeria in the distant past. So what? How many Irish people have relatives in Nigeria then? Your statement is utterly is meaningless. Aside from our common humanity at it’s most base level, Irish people have very very little in common with people from Nigeria. If you think otherwise, then you really are nuts. They do I grant speak a version of English which can often be understood though it is usually painful to the ear and problematic by comparison with English speakers from just about any of the main English speaking countries.

    i am curious – the only numbers that could be described as ‘hordes’ in ireland are the poles and other East Europeans. Does their shared values and skin tone make them more acceptable? despite not speaking english like the nigerians? or should they all go back too? Should we close the brorders and return to the prelapsarian paradise that was 1950’s Ireland?

    As it happens I would agree that we have had a veritable flood of eastern European nationals coming here in recent times. Yes it is crazy and incredibly stupid for this to have been allowed to happen,[FAR TOO MANY OVER TOO SHORT A PERIOD OF TIME] but they are all EU citizens and our government has allowed them to come here by not having the same restrictions as most of the other EU states when we signed the Nice treaty. Back then people like me were tagged as scaremongers by people like you and the inept politicians of the day who all said that there would be nothing like the numbers which actually came.

    I don’t blame the people from Eastern Europe I blame Irish people collectively by being greedy and all too willing to extend the economy ever more into a cheap labour exploitation machine for business to grow grow grow but mainly with the profits and benefits going to the Irish people at the top or middle. The key being that it was never sustainable but as all history shows, immigrants do not go home! [At least not in the sort of numbers that would outweigh the initial huge influx of people. They just stop coming in the same numbers. Ireland wanted cheap labour and worker to do various jobs. Problem is they are people too and with all that entails, there is a price to be paid that goes way beyond mere economics and has serious long term effects and outcomes. Short term yes it can be argued that having all this cheap labour and exploitation has been good for the economy- but not good for the country!

    In any event as fellow citizens of the EU and people with a common European identity and history there is still infinitely more that we have in common with any of the eastern European states by comparison with all the African state you care to name.

    As for the color of peoples skin? Well as uncomfortable as it is for people to want to admit it, these things can and do matter. Exactly how and in what proportion is a complex and varied debate that could be had. Identity is important on many levels as is a sense of place, while we strive to rise above some of our tribal instincts and make progress it would be foolish to deny its existence- just take a look at the North and you can see how important such base and almost primordial things are.

    Certainly we would probably all agree that we judge people not on their skin tone but instead on the character of their person. But at the same time it is idiotic to deny such differences and pretend that the implied difference which is a feature of people having different skin color is somehow not consideration is just fantasy. In general it is simply easier for people of the same colour [as a collective] to be integrated within a host country as for one thing, owing to the very nature of race and sense of identity the sense of US and THEM will tend to be far more pronounced when comparing peoples skin color. Yes this is an unfortunate aspect to our species and it is not something we cannot overcome and manage, or even render marginal but it is a fact. And how we deal with it is a measure of the success we might have in truly achieving harmony within a society.

    In any event I suggest we try to deal with each problem as it arrives and not have additional problems when we do not need them [ Bogus Asylum Seekers]

    As for the comment about 1950s well this is another common reaction in which we swing from 2000 plus back to some of the darker days in Ireland as if there was not a whole lot in-between, the other thing cited is often the 1980s but here too it is just a silly point! Just because there are many many things I do not like about the way Ireland has gone in the past 15 years doesn’t mean I want to go back to the 1980s or 1950s.

    I welcome the progress we have made but lament the fact that far too many immigrants have come here over far too small a time period and I think the shortsighted views of people like you have committed this little country to a future of problems and chaos further down the road. Unlike the rest of Europe we could have avoided this and had a far better quality of life for our citizens than we will ever have now. Yeah growth rates might have been a lot less and we might not have seen the richer get so much richer etc etc but we still would have done very well with a lot less of the down sides.

    Our obligation to refugees, economic immigrants and others less fortunate is as a result of our shared humanity – or does that not count?
    This is just sanctimonious piffle. Just fecking be nice to those around you and those you come into contact with. Lets not try save the world all in one go eh?

    i’d forgotten the narrow minded, tight-mouthed, mean-spirited, small town, fear-ridden bigotry that has always been a feature of the Irish psyche. It’s always a jolt when reminded of it. Tuppence ha’penny looking down on tuppence. As if the great nations of india, china and poland are looking at ireland with envy.

    More stupidity and rhetoric! Simple fact, do you suppose that thousands and thousands of Irish people are going to emigrate to any of the countries you just named! Most reliable estimates suggest there are about 100 thousand Chinese living here now so you do the math! How many Irish live there then? As it happens if it were up to me I would be deporting about 95 thousand of the Chinese just coz as non EU citizens they have no right to be here in the first place but if you wanted to ask me if I prefer the Chinese to the Africans? Oh boy yes I do! There are reasons for this personal preference of mine but I don’t have to explain it or justify it. I also tend to prefer Danes to the Dutch [though I tend to like both] but does that make me a racist!

    The only bigotry on display is yours and an incredible small mind to go with it.

  29. Joseph

    #

    CG said,

    03.26.08 at 1:49 pm

    Tomaltach, I’m engaging here, with Sarah’s article, not over at the Indo with Myers’ mess.

    You seem to have missed the point of Sarah’s article also. There simply AREN’T hordes of foreigners massing at the gates, waiting for us to let our guard down. We can support far more than we do. You are suggesting that we must preemptively prepare for a cataclysmic scenario where we are engulfed by lying women claiming refuge from genital mutilation. That hasn’t happened, isn’t happening, and is totally unlikely to happen.

    Who is living in a fantasy here? I am looking at real world Ireland, where we have the means (and indeed, the economic NEED) to support a considerably larger population. Now, I’m not saying I’d like us to support more asylum seekers on welfare etc – the fact that they can’t work is shocking.

    “Very often it is simply impossible to say whether their claims are valid. Are we to presume every case is genuine without proof? That makes an assumption about the human being with which I fundamentally disagree.”

    This is an interesting question. To my mind, if a person is claiming persecution (and women claiming refuge from FGM actually wouldn’t be the hardest case to prove I think, but anyway) and cannot provide positive proof of this, yet there is no evidence to the negative – yes, my inclination is to allow them to stay. You can’t produce proof every time. If your uncle in the army was spirited away by political enemies one night, they hardly left you a receipt.

    And I disagree that this is any sort of pipe dream. I am looking at things exactly as they are and yes, we can handle as much and more people than we have now. (We aren’t bearing a fair brunt of refugees at all. Sarah mentions this is her article – Ireland is REALLY hard to get to. We have a tiny proportion of refugees compared to even the border European countries like Greece, Italy, Spain – all in much worse economic shape than Ireland is to take such people). You are basing your objections in fear of a deluge for which there is no evidence.

    Nobody’s saying that this will solve all the world’s ills. How far should we go? As far as we’re able, which is a lot farther than we’re going at the moment.

    There is so much that is too stupid to respond to I wont bother. I will point out that as a percentage Ireland HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST RATES OF ASYLUM SEEKERS IN THE EU!

    Anyway as I said before the Dublin convention the Dublin convention JUST IMPLEMENT IT! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dublin_Convention

  30. Frank Ryan

    Our obligation to refugees, economic immigrants and others less fortunate is as a result of our shared humanity – or does that not count?

    This is just sanctimonious piffle. Just fecking be nice to those around you and those you come into contact with. Lets not try save the world all in one go eh?

  31. Tomaltach

    I have looked up some figures regarding Asylum applications in recent years to European countires. In the table below it shows the number of asylum seekers per country and to get a ranking I’ve done a per capita ranking which divides the number of thousands of applications by the number of millions of population. So a country with 10,000 applications and a population of 5m would get 2.
    Main figures are for the year 2000 when our asylum seekers peaked before our rules were tightened.

    IRL 11,000 Ratio 2.75 (year 2004, 4,766, ratio 1.17)
    DEN 13,000 Ratio 2.4
    SWE 16,000 Ratio 1.7
    UK 80,000 Ratio 1.33 (year 2004, 40,000 ratio 0.6)
    FR 40,000 Ratio 0.6
    SP 8,000 Ratio 0.2
    IT 15,000 Ratio 0.25

    Source UNHCR

    From this I draw the following conclusions

    1.When our asylum rate peaked in 2000, before we made our system more robust, Ireland’s asylum applications were, proportionally, at the top of the league in Europe.

    2.The (at the time) more successful economies in the North of Europe were drawing far more applications. Therefore a huge swell of the figures we not true asylum seekers but economic migrants.

    3.All real asylum seekers would come from the South or (quite far) East. Isn’t it strange they passed over so many countries to get to Ireland’s shores before claiming asylum. I deem this to be more evidence that many of the asylum seekers were economic migrants.

  32. Frank Ryan


    “From this I draw the following conclusions

    1.When our asylum rate peaked in 2000, before we made our system more robust, Ireland’s asylum applications were, proportionally, at the top of the league in Europe.

    2.The (at the time) more successful economies in the North of Europe were drawing far more applications. Therefore a huge swell of the figures we not true asylum seekers but economic migrants.

    3.All real asylum seekers would come from the South or (quite far) East. Isn’t it strange they passed over so many countries to get to Ireland’s shores before claiming asylum. I deem this to be more evidence that many of the asylum seekers were economic migrants.”

    BRAVO!

    Now be prepared to be called a racist a bigot and all manner of insults coz u simply said it as it is!

    As was said before it is bleedin obvious! The whole Asylum racket can only reate resentment and bitterness in the native population and this is a sure way to foment racism and division.

    As was also already said FIRM but FAIR

    Interestingly enough 30 percent of people behind bars are non Irish citizens and 5 percent are African! Considering that Africans don’t even make up a percent of the population you can draw fairly depressing conclusions. In the USA when people point out the incredible percent of people behind bars as Black there is the immediate cry about all the past wrongs done to the Black community. This may be fair to a point but likewise at some point we have to also say enough is enough and call a spade a spade however sad or depressing the reality might be.

    The more people from Africa we have, the problems we will have and the sad part is that all the good/educated/civilized/sophisticated Africans will be tarred with the same brush. In short, migration from African states should be highly selective and heavily screened. Individuals are fine but when you have large numbers and ethnic areas you are doomed to all manner of problems which can never be solved.

  33. Gerry

    Simple fact, do you suppose that thousands and thousands of Irish people are going to emigrate to any of the countries you just named! Most reliable estimates suggest there are about 100 thousand Chinese living here now so you do the math!

    i decided to do the math(s)

    china pop: 1000,000,000
    chinese in ireland 100,000
    % of pop: .0001
    equivalent of irish pop (whole island); 500

    Are there more than 500 Irish people living in China. I should think so. the balance is with us.

  34. The Crewser

    Really the entire problem can be traced back to Mary Robinson’s light in the window of the Aras. It was really intended for to welcome home the Irish who had gone abroad to earn a crust but then others heard about it and the rest is history. But the question is this, how would our hospitality industry and catering trade function if they all decided to up sticks in the morning. Not very well I would imagine.

  35. Sarah Post author

    Joseph, comments tooooo long.

    Hold back lads.

    Hi Crewser. Away for the holidays?

  36. Frank Ryan

    “But the question is this, how would our hospitality industry and catering trade function if they all decided to up sticks in the morning. Not very well I would imagine.”

    I think you would find that wages would go up in the sector and it would not be too hard to attract the natives to do those jobs. There are many types of jobs I have seen in which the Irish workers were doing these jobs and then over the past 10 years or so they have gradually disappeared. replaced by Chinese Indian or whatever nationals. It became a self fulfilling thing. Supply and demand. If as you suggest they all left overnight then there would be a lot less on the dole! There would be many who would fill these jobs as the demand for the workers would go up and the supply would be down and so…

    As for the math thing about China well I would be surprised if there was much more than 100 Irish working in China. I would not include those who have gone to China with large amounts of capital and set up business there. That is rather a different and such Chinese as this I would welcome here!

    I rather like Chinese people but I just do not want 100 thousand living in Ireland at the moment.

  37. Andrew Lawlor

    Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.

    Firstly a few figures from the 2006 Census.

    Total Population 4,172,013

    Non Irish 419,733 10.06 %

    USA 12,475 0.29 %

    China 11,161 0.27 %

    African 35,326 0.84 %

    Poland 63,276 1.51 %

    Non EU 141,600 3.39 %

    ‘Most reliable estimates suggest there are about 100 thousand Chinese living here now so you do the math! How many Irish live there then?’

    Here’s the proper maths. The population of Ireland is 4,172,013. There were 11,161 Chinese in Ireland, that’s 0.27 % of the population. (CSO: Census 2006)
    The population of China is about 1,321,851,888 (July 2007 est. CIA Factbook.), 0.27% of the Chinese population equates to 3,569,000 people.

    ‘Interestingly enough 30 percent of people behind bars are non-Irish citizens and 5 percent are African! Considering that Africans don’t even make up a percent of the population you can draw fairly depressing conclusions’.

    Table 11: Nationality of persons in custody under sentence on the
    7th December 2006

    Total %
    Irish 2,503 91.85
    U.K. 69 2.53
    Other E.U. 62 2.28
    Other European 23 0.84
    Other nationalities 68 2.50
    Total 2,725 100.00

    As the table above from the annual report of the Irish Prison Service, 2006 shows, the non-Irish population of our prison system in December 2006 was 222 persons or 8.15% of the total prison population.

    ‘But the question is this, how would our hospitality industry and catering trade function if they all decided to up sticks in the morning. Not very well I would imagine.

    I think you would find that wages would go up in the sector and it would not be too hard to attract the natives to do those jobs. There are many types of jobs I have seen in which the Irish workers were doing these jobs and then over the past 10 years or so they have gradually disappeared, replaced by Chinese Indian or whatever nationals.’

    Current unemployment in Ireland stands at less than 200,000. If our immigrant guests did all go home in the morning we would have to convince all 200,000 of the unemployed to take up gainful employment. What do you think are the chances that happening?

    Ever since ‘joseph’ so brilliantly put me in my place with his razor sharp wit last night I have watched this debate develop with growing anger and huge disappointment. It saddens me to see this kind of attitude so easily portrayed, not only by those two fools ‘joseph’ and ‘frank ryan’ but by so many other normally rational contributors to this site. If anything is going to lead to ‘rivers of blood’ in this country it is the unchecked dissemination of this kind of hate inciting, racially divisive drivel that we hear from our two new friends and their fellow travellers in the Immigration Control Platform. (It is remarkable how their selective and dishonest statistics match up with the same lies promulgated on the ICP website.)

    Yesterday something really nice happened in my house. A birthday card arrived in the post for my son’s fifth birthday. This card came from a Romanian couple, Magdalene and Gionni, who live in Dublin. About six or seven years ago my wife and I noticed this couple sitting on the wall outside of our house. It was a bitterly cold day and they had an infant with them. I went out to inquire if they needed any help and they told me they were waiting for someone to come with the key to a garage flat next door. I brought them into my kitchen and we sat over lunch and several coffees getting to know a little about each other. Finally after about three hours the guy arrived with the key and we helped them to carry their meagre belongings into their new home. Although both families have since moved and we have not seen Magdalene and Gionni for over five years our kids’ birthdays never pass without the arrival of a card from Dublin. This is the human face of immigration and it is the one that I want to put out there to counter the xenophobic rants that have preceded me. I don’t expect to change the hate-filled minds of our two newest contributors, but I do expect that those of you, whom I know to be decent, informed and intelligent people will express your rejection of this filth.

  38. Tomaltach

    I want to concur fully with what Andrew said about the hate inciting drivel. I was annoyed that my comments were cited approvingly by others here with whom I profoundly disagree – I refer especially Frank Ryan whose rant about people behind bars is simply awful.

    Andrew, correct me if I’m wrong, you may have had me in mind when you wrote “It saddens me to see this kind of attitude so easily portrayed…but [also] by so many other normally rational contributors to this site”.

    If that’s the case, I think you are being unfair. I am not a scare monger about ayslum – I merely want to call a spade a spade. There are no hordes at the gate – I never argued there was. I pointed out that the evidence suggests to me that a significant portion of our asylum seekers are in fact economic migrants. And also that when our asylum figures peaked that as a proportion it was high by European standards. Further, assessing the veracity of asylum applications is complex. I am fully aware that the numbers of asylum seekers is small in terms of the overall number of migrants to Ireland. And in the context of the total number there are certainly, I feel, issues around integration and culture that need to be taken into account.

  39. Andrew Lawlor

    Indeed, Tomaltach, you would be among the many that I rerfered to above. What I was really refering to in my comment was the relative silence which greeeted the the very loudly proclaimed untruths which joseph and frank ryan have been posting. Without getting all misty eyed about this, it is still true to say that for evil to triumph requires only that good men do nothing. The kind of xenophopic, insular and hateful message proclaimed by frank and joseph and the Immigration Control Platform must be rebutted forcefully. I am all for a robust debate on the issues surrounding immigration, but to engage in debate with people who simply make up statistics to support their twisted view is ultimately futile. The statistics quoted by frank ryan for non-Irish prison population are lifted almost word for word from an article in the Irish Idependent by John O’Keefe which was reproduced on the ICP website. In the article O’keefe states,

    ‘In 2006, out of a prison population of 9,600, over 2,900 were from outside the State.’

    The Irish Prison Service Annual Report, 2006 disagrees hugely with this, and you would think that the guys who run the prisons might have a good idea of how many prisoners they have.

    joseph tells us the following in one of his rants,

    ‘Most reliable estimates suggest there are about 100 thousand Chinese living here now…’

    What he left out of the quote he lifted from the ICP site is the following,

    ‘The recent census found there are just 11,000 Chinese living in Ireland, but it is widely believed the figure is actually as high as 100,000, with thousands working illegally in jobs, having stayed on after student visas ran out.’

    ‘Widely believed.?’ it is also ‘widely believed’ in the US (over 60%) that evolution is rubbish and God made the world in six days. It is ‘widely believed’ that asylum seekers are given free cars. ‘Widely believed means nothing and to formulate policy or even to frame a debate around what is ‘widely believed’ by semi-literate gobshites is not the way to run a country.

    So let us not simply go silent and say that to engage in debate is to give the oxygen of publicity to hatred. Let us scream just as loudly that they are wrong, that this is not the country we want to live in. That we want a future for our children in which people can live their lives unencumbered by the vitriolic, isolationist view of the ICP and the BNP and their fellow travellers, joseph and frank.

    Scribere est agere – to write is to act.

  40. Frank Ryan

    If you Mr Lawlor are suggesting for a moment that there is a mere 11 thousand Chinese in this country then you are every bit the idiot you appear to be!

    Any fool can see that the numbers are are least 100 thousand and if one is to simply open your eyes in Dublin alone you will see the sheer amount of Chinese people here.

    The media regularly quotes figures that are nothing like 11k more common are figures like 150k aor 60k In any event people dont need to rely on the census to see reality. YOU DONT NEED A WEATHER MAN TO KNOW WHICH WAY THE WIND BLOWS

    The only one trying to hoodwink people is you! You seek to stop and debate or dissent from a totally multicultural agenda. Every time someone is strident in having a realistic view of the whole process that has been going on in Ireland over the past 15 years plus people like you make all sort of bogus scaremongering accusations and try to silence people who veer too far off from YOUR views.

    As for the figures for the Prison population well there was also comments from a JUDGE recently expressing grave concern at the very high percent of foreign nationals behind bars.

    It is indeed a fact that when you have such mobile and transitory populations as we have created then the rates of criminal activity of all sorts is far higher. One only has to listen to the radio and watch TV and read papers to be well aware of the disproportionate rate of criminal activity that involves foreign nationals as opposed to the native population.

    For years the UK provided ample evidence of this when Irish people were likely to be behind bars in far greater percentages than they were as a population.

    It is typical for people to shy away from contentious and unpleasant facts but the realities remain. By recognizing the reality on the ground and the implication’s of policies such as having in practice an open door policy for people wanting to live here we are just pretending.

    Mere name calling .which is all your good for, fool only those who want to be fooled by you.

  41. Frank Ryan

    Yep! The fact that you would try contend that the numbers of Chinese in Ireland is 11 k is enough ot know your delusional.

    In the UK it was recently admitted that the government had not a clue about the true numbers of immigrants in the country and could be out in its estimates by anything up to a million people!

    illegal Immigrants do not engage with society beyond doing their own thing and working to make money. They are all economic migrants and just get on with their own thing. They sure as hell are not going to fill out a census form!

    People can figure out for themselves what makes sense and so can usually see through the real scare tactics of blaming foreigners on all manner of things just for the sake of it or exaggerating various benefits they get. The facts as they are will often be crazy enough to need any misrepresentations or spurious exaggeration’s

  42. Frank Ryan

    Yesterday something really nice happened in my house. A birthday card arrived in the post for my son’s fifth birthday. This card came from a Romanian couple, Magdalene and Gionni, who live in Dublin. About six or seven years ago my wife and I noticed this couple sitting on the wall outside of our house. It was a bitterly cold day and they had an infant with them. I went out to inquire if they needed any help and they told me they were waiting for someone to come with the key to a garage flat next door. I brought them into my kitchen and we sat over lunch and several coffees getting to know a little about each other. Finally after about three hours the guy arrived with the key and we helped them to carry their meagre belongings into their new home. Although both families have since moved and we have not seen Magdalene and Gionni for over five years our kids’ birthdays never pass without the arrival of a card from Dublin. This is the human face of immigration and it is the one that I want to put out there to counter the xenophobic rants that have preceded me. I don’t expect to change the hate-filled minds of our two newest contributors, but I do expect that those of you, whom I know to be decent, informed and intelligent people will express your rejection of this filth.

    Wow! this really is the very epitome of the sort of nonsense you and your kind get up to.

    You give a fuzzy feel good little story [WHICH IS COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT] and then having set yourself up as such a wonderful caring human being you spew out your bile and hatred while making all manner of insults and false assertions.

    Nobody has said that immigrants are not people and in fact I made a point of saying that people should always be treated with courtesy and politeness.
    There is good and bad from everywhere but what is also true is that there are consequences from having large scale immigration of the unchecked kind we have seen in Ireland over the past 15 years. These immigrants are indeed people and with that comes problems of all kind.

    You say there is mo flood? Are you mad? Various public services are at breaking point. People know very well that this country has been transformed by the sheer volume of immigrants over the past 15 years. Had such numbers arrived over a period of 100 years it may well have been very good for the country and it would be an interesting evolving process that would enrich the society but the totally trans formative manner in which immigration has impacted on Ireland has been a disaster which will be shown as this in the years to come. already the quality of life in this country is nothing like what it could be if the society was more balanced and less stressed.

  43. Tomaltach

    Andrew,
    You have a fair point about taking these kinds of opinion head on. However, when the point of view lies off the scale I personally rarely bother to engage, I just roll my eyes. If the debate is honest and reasonable then fair enough – we can make a persuasive case. But I think that we are not going to modifiy the opinion of people like Frank Ryan. You are only going to get the hairs to stand on your back for nothing.

    But still, fair enough if you want to engage. This is an important question: how do we treat opinions on the fringe when they can be dangerous? By bringing David Irwin on the Late Late, is it a public service to engage him or is it just giving him the publicity he wants? It’s often a fine line.

  44. Joseph

    Andrew,
    You have a fair point about taking these kinds of opinion head on. However, when the point of view lies off the scale I personally rarely bother to engage, I just roll my eyes. If the debate is honest and reasonable then fair enough – we can make a persuasive case. But I think that we are not going to modifiy the opinion of people like Frank Ryan. You are only going to get the hairs to stand on your back for nothing.

    But still, fair enough if you want to engage. This is an important question: how do we treat opinions on the fringe when they can be dangerous? By bringing David Irwin on the Late Late, is it a public service to engage him or is it just giving him the publicity he wants? It’s often a fine line.

    Jasus this is hilarious! Talk about arrogance and patronizing! So you are not fringe or a minority opinion? Maybe? Maybe not. The latent facist tendency is all there in your comment about Irving. There is no fine line and your a bloody fool if you think there is. Of course people should be free to have whatever opinion they like and be free to express it. it is just a far more subtle form of tyranny when people are vilified and misrepresented by sanctimonious self righteous clowns who all too often are ones who do not have to deal with the consequences of their smug views

  45. Joseph

    opinions on the fringe can be dangerous

    CLASSIC!

    Hell!

    Ideas and notions MUST BE TERRIFYING!

    I just watched the news and the Teachers have warned that racism will be a big problem unless….the resources are put into….

    This means that teachers now must be retrained and re-indoctrinated to deal with the various nationalities etc etc We need more translators and …. blah blah blah

    It is all so funny- inside out and backwards! Lets change the country as much as we can to accommodate foreigners coming to live here by their choice!

    Now that might be a good thing? [To me it is the height of stupidity] but nowhere or at any time have Irish people been presented with such a direct and transparent choice. Do people factor in all these additional cost or adjustments to be made when you have a multicultural regime imposed from the top down and foreigners

    How about this for a simple idea: If you wanna go to Ireland be prepared to be able to speak English and respect the social norms and cultural life on the country. Otherwise stay at home and don’t be bothering irelan with your unique ethnic culture or problems. When in Rome! etc etc

    Do this and you will find Irish people to be open friendly and welcoming plus accommodating! We don’t care what color you are and are not interested particularly in your religion or cultural practices beyond polite curiosity just so long as you get with the program and learn how we do things here and just try fit in harmony will prevail!

    Sure be proud of who you are and where you come from just dont go telling us how we need to change. If you cant handle all the negative things about Ireland then really you should stay at home! It makes a huge difference if you prepare yourself for being in such a foreign country and so please make sure you have good English or are willing to learn real fast at your own expense.

    A formula for harmony and excellent race relations!

  46. Gerry

    So hang on Joseph, if they flee because they want to avoid things like female circumcision and want to stay because it is not the norm here (and presumably they do want to fit in) they should still be sent back because they’re lying?

    Surely the woman and her children speak english so why should she be deported immediately?

  47. Gerry

    Andrew

    Thanks for pointing out the Immigration control Platform angle. It is reassuring that joseph and Frank are agenda driven muck rakers rather than representative of any wider opinion. Arm an idiot with two made up facts and watch him argue with an empty room.

  48. Frank Ryan

    #

    Gerry said,

    03.27.08 at 2:16 pm

    So hang on Joseph, if they flee because they want to avoid things like female circumcision and want to stay because it is not the norm here (and presumably they do want to fit in) they should still be sent back because they’re lying?

    Surely the woman and her children speak english so why should she be deported immediately?

    Coz THEIR CLAIM FOR ASYLUM IS TOTALLY BOGUS! they have no business to be here in the first place and are clearly going to say anything that will give them half a chance of getting to stay here, if that makes her a liar then yes indeed that is what she is. As has been pointed out already there are a lot of countries between Nigeria and Ireland and on that basis alone they should not even be indulged as they have been.

    If the message went out very strongly that this nonsense will not be indulged then fewer and fewer would be bothering us and they in turn would not have to go through the emotional roller coaster they have to go through.
    /b>

    Send her back to where she belongs and if she likes she can apply for a work permit or immigrant visa like anyone else who wants to come here.

    Nigeria is a big country and I am sure she will be better off with her own people.

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