Thursday, May 30, 2024

Brexit ‘comes back to haunt Ireland’ as ‘intransigence’ over migrants laid bare

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Ireland is paying the price for its “intransigence” over a key border issue during Brexit negotiations, as it struggles to contain a growing migrant crisis. Irish authorities were forced last week to dismantle a “makeshift shanty town” that had sprung up in the centre of Dublin.

Around 200 tents housing some 138 migrants had been erected outside the International Protection Office – the agency that deals with asylum applications.

The migrants, who were rounded up and later transported to the Citywest hotel, are part of a steady stream of asylum seekers making their way to Ireland.

Around 6,739 migrants have appeared in the country just this year, according to official figures. Between 80 and 91 per cent of them arrive in the Republic directly from Britain.

Irish deputy PM Micheál Martin believes the reason so many migrants are coming from the UK is because of the British government’s Rwanda policy.

“I believe the Rwanda effect is impacting on Ireland,” Mr Martin conceded in an interview.

Migrants are able to easily travel to Ireland from Britain as a result of the “no hard border” agreement negotiated between Dublin and London during Brexit negotiations.

Dublin insisted there could be no stringent border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic. As a result the border is essentially an open one, allowing free passage of people.

To reach Ireland, migrants just need to take a ferry from Liverpool to Belfast and then a bus or train to the Republic. Both the Taoiseach Simon Harris and the deputy prime minister were party to those key discussions, the Daily Mail’s Guy Adams noted.

While a post-Brexit “co-operation deal” theoretically allows Dublin to return refugees to the UK, it has no legal standing.

Rishi Sunak also made it clear last week he had to interest in striking a deal with Ireland until the EU softened its own stance on the UK’s right to return illegal immigrants to France.

However, Downing Street said it was open to allowing the Republic to join its Rwanda scheme if it so wished.

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