Ireland Sought to Give Thousands of Migrants ‘Amnesty Under Another Name’

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Authorities in Ireland “tried very much to introduce something like an amnesty” for thousands of asylum seekers, but “did not dare” call it that because politicians knew such a move would be electoral poison, it has emerged.

Former High Court judge Dr Bryan McMahon made the revelation while giving evidence to the Oireachtas (legislature of Ireland) Committee on Justice and Equality this week, as the United Nations ordered politicians to improve the quality of life for asylum seekers in the country.

Dr McMahon, whose eponymous 2015 report predicted an “upward trend in the number of new applications” for asylum in Ireland, described how efforts to regularise the migration status of 4,000 people were set back by politicians’ fears that “the word ‘amnesty’ … is not a prospect that would go down well with the public”.

He said: “With regard to an amnesty for those who have been in the system for more than five years, we tried very much in our discussions to introduce something that was like an amnesty but we did not dare call it an amnesty.

“To some extent, the word is taboo in the discussion because it will not fly [so] the administrators tried to do it in another way,” Dr McMahon added, stressing that the move “had to be done without using the word ‘amnesty’.”

The head of the Irish branch of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Enda O’Neill, had complained to the committee over the length of time migrants were having to wait to have their applications processed.

Other issues raised included that newcomers, who are now allowed to work while seeking asylum thanks to rule changes supported by big business, were being placed in taxpayer-funded accommodation which was considered too far away from urban areas to be considered convenient for finding employment.

In September, Ireland announced an amnesty to regularise the status of an estimated 3,500 to 5,500 illegal immigrants who arrived in the country as international students between 2005 and 2010 — a move hailed by open borders groups such as Right to Remain.

The Britain-based NGO, which works to dismantle immigration restrictions in Britain, lauded the decision, alleging that “support for amnesty schemes is mainstream in Ireland”.

“Major Irish political parties have advocated regularisation schemes, including in election manifestos, and the main opposition party welcomed the move,” the group said on its website.

But a number of factors suggest there is far less consensus on the topic than the Irish establishment claims, including that politicians and the country’s almost uniformly left-liberal mainstream media enforces a tough line against anyone who would discuss mass migration or its consequences in less than glowingly positive terms.

At recent elections, discourse around immigration has been controlled by the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), an NGO funded by Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros and EU taxpayers, while a centrist politician was smeared as a “dog-whistling” extremist for commenting that “there needs to be sustainable levels of immigration in this country, it needs to be managed”.

The gap in attitudes between Ireland’s elite and the people who they are supposed to represent was exposed in a survey earlier this year, which found that not one of the country’s TDs (the equivalent of British MPs) wanted to reduce immigration.

Despite half the respondents admitting that mass migration was regularly brought up on the doorstep as a topic of concern, 65 per cent said they were happy to see immigration remain at its current level while 35 per cent stated they would like to see it increased further.

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