Ireland must prepare to grant asylum to migrants supposedly fleeing climate change, a government minister from the Green Party has declared.
Roderic O’Gorman, Ireland’s controversial Minister for Children, has declared that his country must make preparations to allow in a large number of migrants supposedly fleeing from the effects of climate change.
While Ireland has already been pursuing a relatively open borders approach when it comes to the issue of Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis, the suggestion that it starts allowing climate migrants to stay in the country has shocked even some of the Irish government’s own ministers.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, O’Gorman emphasised that he believed that both Ireland and Europe at large will see a significant rise in the number of asylum seekers over the coming years, declaring that the country must now start making preparations to allow in climate migrants.
“I think all of Europe is going to have to expect more migration, more inward migration,” he told the paper. “Parts of Europe have experienced very significant amounts in the last decade. By and large Ireland has been receiving relatively small amounts and I think it’s likely that that’s going to change.”
He went on to say that he “would like to see” climate migrants become a self-defined category within the asylum process, but that such arrangements would need to be made at an international level.
“That’s something international law is going to have to grapple with because they are not economic migrants in the in the traditional sense — some of them are fleeing a place that no longer exists, or at least may no longer be habitable for humans,” he went on to suggest.
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Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine early last year, Ireland’s progressive government has taken a radically open borders approach to migrants and refugees, allowing in a total of around 70,000 into a country of just five million people.
However, suggestions that the country should begin taking in climate refugees on top of this influx have shocked even some of those within Ireland’s pro-open borders government, with many outside the Irish Green Party saying that the country simply does not have the capability to deal with the additional influx.
“It is making policy on the hoof, and introducing an entire new category of person entitled to international protection,” one government MP, Charlie Flanagan, remarked, adding that the suggestion was far outside the coalition agreement for government.
“It comes at a time during which we are struggling to cope with the numbers of people coming into the country, either as refugees from Ukraine or seeking international protection,” he went on to say.
Flanagan’s sentiment that Ireland is now beginning to struggle under its own open borders commitments has been echoed by the country’s Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, who has now publicly warned that the island nation is running out of places to put the large number of new arrivals.
According to the Irish Times, Varadkar has noted that the country’s ability to look after migrants is now wearing thin, and that Ireland was simply “not in a position to guarantee accommodation to everyone who arrives in the country – that’s just the reality of the situation”.
“We will do the best that we can for people – provide them with shelter as best we can, provide children with education,” the Prime Minister said.
“But what I can’t do here is guarantee that we will be able to find accommodation for everyone who might arrive in the country, whether it’s from Ukraine or elsewhere.”
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