Monday, May 20, 2024

Ireland’s Micheal Martin takes swipe at Rishi Sunak over Rwanda Bill

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Tanaiste has appeared to take a dig at Britain – and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – suggesting his controversial “may been designed” to send migrants to his country.

Mr Sunak’s contentious legislation was passed by Parliament last week.

And the Prime Minister has said flights will begin taking people ”entering the country illegally” to the east African country within 10 to 12 weeks.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Martin said the legalisation was already having an impact, with those “fearful” of being deported in such a way instead making a beeline for his country.

In a remark likely to be aimed at the UK Government, he explained: “Maybe that’s the impact it was designed to have.”

Mr Martin, who is also Ireland’s Foreign Minister, said those claiming asylum were attempting to get sanctuary “within the European Union” as opposed to being booted out and taken to Rwanda.

His comments came hard of the heels of similar warnings by justice minister Helen McEntee as she gave evidence to a scrutiny committee in the Dail or Irish parliament.

Specifically Ms McEntee said more than 80 percent of people seeking asylum in Ireland entered via Northern Ireland, a border crossing that is open as guaranteed under a UK-EU Brexit treaty.

The ministers were speaking as tension mounted over Ireland’s immigration levels and a burgeoning housing crisis.

Six people were arrested overnight during a protest at a site in Newtownmountkennedy in Co Wicklow where asylum seekers are scheduled to be placed.

The Gardai – Ireland’s police force – said officers came had been attacked after workers were brought onto the site, suffering “verbal and physical abuse throughout the day, which escalated into rocks and other missiles being thrown this evening”.

Fires were started, an axe was discovered and officers had been “forced to defend themselves” using incapacitant spray, helmets and shields, a statement explained. A total of three patrol cars were also damaged.

Broadcaster RTE said protesters claimed gardai used unnecessary force, and had used intimidating tactics against a peaceful protest.

There have been protests during the past six weeks at the site, which known as Trudder House or River Lodge, RTE reported.

It has reportedly being earmarked as a site for 20 eight-person tents housing asylum seekers – but some locals argue it is unsuitable with the village’s resources already over-stretched.

Ms McEntee said there was “a lot of misinformation about migration at the moment”.

Yesterday she tweeted to promote the EU Migration and Asylum Pact, describing it as “a real game changer” and “something we must opt into”.

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