Debate over EU Migration and Asylum Pact to continue

Debate over EU Migration and Asylum Pact to continue

The Oireachtas will later continue a tense debate on the government’s proposal to fully opt-in to the EU Migration and Asylum Pact.

Taoiseach Simon Harris yesterday told TDs that the pact “is a united effort from Europe, after excruciating work and negotiation over a long period, to ensure we have full control of and responsibility for our European borders and that we have a system in place that works across the European Union for once and for all”.

Justice minister Helen McEntee said Ireland’s asylum legislation is “no longer fit for purpose” and a vote to opt-in to the pact would lead to new legislation to repeal and replace the International Protection Act 2015, “in parallel with a complete re-engineering of our entire system from start to finish”.

However, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said opting-in to the pact would “hand responsibility and power for Ireland’s immigration policies over to Brussels lock, stock and barrel” and “represents a dangerous erosion of Irish sovereignty”.

Other opposition politicians highlighted criticism from human rights organisations.

Holly Cairns, leader of the Social Democrats, said: “Over 160 NGOs, including Oxfam, Amnesty and Médecins Sans Frontières, are opposed to the pact.

“All of these human rights experts agree that the pact is dangerous because the fundamental right to claim asylum and international protection, which refugees have enjoyed for more than seven decades, is being eroded.”

The debate will continue in the Dáil later this afternoon.

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