Bertie draws the border back in…

Last time I was stopped at the border would have been by a single Garda around 1990, probably after a major attack somewhere in Northern Ireland. He was stopping most cars just before the Carrickdale hotel creating a tailback that went right back across the actual boarder. When we eventually got up to him he engaged my Derby born English colleague in a long conversation about the mixed fortunes of Derby County (the Guard’s favourite team), and after a decent interval he waved us on. Yesterday, travelling on a Belfast to Dublin coach we were pulled in by a Garda with the words ‘Immigration’ emblazoned on his back and asked for passports and other forms of photo ID. It’s a development that has not been covered in the media, yet it would appear to have important implications both for Schengen debate, and the future of the Common Travel Area. Bertie Ahern seems convinced that most of the immigration travel is north to south, although official figures suggest it is about equal each way. So is Dublin preparing to draw a hard land border back in, in preference to sharing protocols and information with British? There is no sign of immigration control on east west flights between Dublin and Britain, yet at least.

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  • Only Asking

    I think Dublin will draw a border. It’s a back door for immigration that unfortunately needs to be closed. It goes against the EU, it goes against sympathy many of us have for an Ireland with no border, but I’m for clamping down on immigration (especially Illegal immigration). I think all countries within the EU need to secure their borders – the open borders policy is simply not working.

  • Mick Fealty

    What’s fascinating here though is that there is not a proven case that the Northern Irish border is a significant entry point for illegal immigrants.

    The question would appear to more to do with enforcing separate national controls to the British. We can’t know for sure since negotiations with the UK government over the possibility of shared protocols have been conducted in private, even as the Irish Times has been calling (largely unsuccessfully) for a public debate.

    Is this the beginning of the end of the Common Travel Area? If it is, then Northern Ireland unambiguously falls into the ‘foreign territory’ category so far as Dublin is concerned.

    Although it has to be said that the Guard yesterday only had to glimpse the outside of our EU passports to move on. Still, it looks like the border is back.

  • Jo

    My last post didn’t appear.

    Is it now the case that pasengers on this train NEED to have their passports?

  • George

    Time for Ireland to make a decision, inside Schengen with the rest of the Eurozone or out of it looking to shelter under a British security umbrella.

    I’d take Schengen myself.

    As for Northern Ireland, the good people can join the Republic and with it Schengen any time they want but we can’t keep the country on hold in the hope that this potential eventuality comes about sooner rather than later.

    If protecting the “internal” land border is in the interests of national security, so be it.

    Just because the people of Northern Ireland are somehow managing to ride two sovereign horses doesn’t mean we have to try the same feat.

    It seems the Common Travel Area has outlived its usefulness for both Britain and Ireland.

  • joeCanuck

    I never realised that you have a coloured hue , Mick.
    Oh wait, that’s Texas.

  • Rubicon

    Since travel to GB from NI already requires photo id. what visible benefit is it to people from NI to be part of the “British security umbrella”?

  • Mick Fealty

    It was a coach Jo.

  • Mark McGregor

    This isn’t a particularly new development, An Garda have been at this for many years particularly on the airport buses, the bit I always had an issue with was the racist methods used for deciding on an ID check. I’ve never been asked on any occasion it happened while every dark skinned or swarthy person has.

  • Mick Fealty

    Rub,

    Air travel universally requires photo id, whether internal or external. This is the first time I’ve experienced that requirement for any other form of travel. That does not preclude the possibility that this immigration checking has been going on for some time. The coach driver gave the impression it was fairly routine.

    But presumably each state has its own strategic assets it is legally bound to protect.

  • Jo

    “I always had an issue with was the racist methods used for deciding on an ID check.”

    This was my previous point. At least it would seem that on this occasion, all passengers were being checked – not just those who “looked foreign” – whatever that means anymore ! 🙂

  • Mark McGregor

    It also worth noting that historically the Irish change policy in line with Britain’s on this, the Aliens Order 1962 being a prime example and the Common Travel Area isn’t a legal entity that was ever formally ratified by treaty or agreement though the British reciprocate as demonstrated recently by the exemption for Irish citizens convicted and gaoled from deportation legislation.

  • pfhl

    This has been routine for quite a while and only really applies to those of a doubtful origin. I had no identification but my strong north antrim accent done my verification for me. The Gardai simply said thats ok. It not right that it comes down to racist notions but i would be equally annoyed to have been told i could not travel to a city where i paid my taxes for a year. I would like to point out i have been asked every time and the gardai has used his common sense in my situation thankfully.

  • PaddyReilly

    the bit I always had an issue with was the racist methods

    Here we have an example of the –ism mentality being used in the fight against crime fighters. As one senior policeman in London put it, if the complainant says the assailant was a young Afro-Caribbean, we’re not going to be stopping elderly Chinese women, are we?

    While not wishing to cast aspersions on any particular racial grouping, I did once think of volunteering to stand in identity parades (in London), but was told that, if I wasn’t Black and under 30, my services were not required.

    Illegal immigration into Ireland is an offence committed almost definitionally by people of swarthy hue. It therefore makes more sense to stop people of swarthy hue than, for example, those with red hair and freckles.

    I realise this can be bothersome. There was a time when I myself was singled out, from something like 300 passengers, by UK police authorities for questioning. I mentioned this to American friends, who said it must be because I was Irish. I pointed out that this was not actually an unusual nationality to hold on the ferry from Dún Laoghaire to Holyhead, so I must have had some additional qualification.

    It may be economically advantageous to move to a continent which is not the one your grandparents dwelt upon, but this advantage usually comes with certain disadvantages, one of which is that you spend longer at immigration control than the natives do. If this is too hard to bear, then the answer is to move back to a place where you are not unusual. Mostly though, I think the advantages of European residence outweigh the disadvantages. Equally, I found that avoiding the border searches would not compensate for a lifelong confinement in Ballyjamesduff.

  • Rubicon

    These checks have dubious value and will in all likelihood increase NI nationalist paranoia while at the same time feeding immigration fears that are for the most part thinly veiled racism. This type of activity appears to give justification to those who believe illegal immigration is a real problem – yet there is no evidence of this being the case. A search over the last month’s news media produces a single case of alleged illegal immigration – one that Paisley has backed against deportation (http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/article3266821.ece)

    There are however many instances of hostility towards immigrants.

    Yet, this month the Registrar General for Northern Ireland reported the asset immigration to NI has been (http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/article3231307.ece ). Over the last 30 years births have fallen by a fifth while the number of pensioners has increased by a third – and that doesn’t count the huge rise in economic inactivity (for those of economically active age) over the same period.

    Put plainly, it’s simple arithmetic – either migrants fill the gap or the rising health costs of the inactive and elderly will have to be found from the pockets of the employed Christian whites who have been the source of no concern at all over the last 3 decades!

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think Dublin will draw a border. It’s a back door for immigration that unfortunately needs to be closed. It goes against the EU, it goes against sympathy many of us have for an Ireland with no border, but I’m for clamping down on immigration (especially Illegal immigration). I think all countries within the EU need to secure their borders – the open borders policy is simply not working.

    Hang on a second. Everyone gets their ID/visa requirements checked at the point of entry into the EU. Therefore, anyone crossing the Irish border (or any other border inside the EU) will have been checked on entry already. So what’s the problem ?

    A lot of the heat and static about “immigrants” is being directed at people who are legal migrants – Poles, Romanians and so on. They’re all here legally. The border check isn’t going to change those.

    So precisely whom is the checking being done at the moment designed to catch ?

  • Rubicon

    CS – couldn’t agree more – but there could just be a benefit here. Will the Garda be stopping vehicles from South Armagh on their way to Monaghan in cars filled with murderous louts wearing boiler suits with balaclavas and baseball bats in the boot?

    No?

    ‘Cos they showed their EU passports?

    Well – I guess that’s fine then!

    I’m all for a focussed campaign that concentrates on known areas of cross-border crime. Illegal immigration is way down the list of priorities – but, then again, perhaps it’s not combating criminality that’s the objective here. Instead, let’s keep a few black families out and if they sneak in we’ll have ‘em deported! Then NI can go back to its traditional ‘cultural’ activities again ;(

    The legal migrants entering NI are an asset without whom; NI’s dependents (growing in number each year) will either be told “sorry – no heart op for you”, or, “sorry – no DLA for you”, or, “we’d give your kid a place but the school needs the fees and you can’t pay ‘em. Sorry – do please move on …”. The list could be very long for the demands made by NI on the public purse.

    Every time I hit the refresh button on Slugger that damned video plays telling me about our fuel poverty. Stop the migrants if you like but Mrs Doyle or people of like mind will need to find other ways of keeping warm than seeking state handouts.

  • PaddyReilly

    Poles, Romanians and so on. They’re all here legally.

    I’m not sure about Romanians. Don’t they have to wait a while? And in any case, it is still possible to deport a criminal from another EU country.

  • Rubicon

    Paddy – I think the largest EU immigrant group to NI is the Polish and after that the Lithuanians – excluding those from GB and the Republic of Ireland (whose numbers are falling).

    As for deporting criminals the law is complex. International agreements set out human rights obligations but how these are transposed in law vary and it seems that bi-partisan agreements between national governments determine much of what happens.

  • latcheeco

    Mick,
    I remember in 2002 they got on a Dublin bound Ulsterbus.It wass on the outside of Dundalk. They were plain clothed and uniformed gards and they checked passports, taking a very pretty Polish girl off the bus because she had no I.D. (with the amount of mingers runnin about El Paso you’d think they’d be all for beautifying the gene pool with imports). Any way I asked the plod how many of his mates were over at the Big dig or playing hurling in New York without green cards and he gave me some bullocks about 911 security.

  • Siphonophore

    Comrade Stalin,

    Hang on a second. Everyone gets their ID/visa requirements checked at the point of entry into the EU. Therefore, anyone crossing the Irish border (or any other border inside the EU) will have been checked on entry already. So what’s the problem ?

    You’ve got to now ask yourself if that is the case how do ANY illegal immigrants get to Ireland? Or how do any asylum refugees get into the country since under EU law asylum seekers must have their request processed at the country of entry. They either teleport in, other countries are not securing their borders or they are shuffling them along from point of entry for another country to deal with.

  • PaddyReilly

    taking a very pretty Polish girl off the bus because she had no I.D. (with the amount of mingers runnin about El Paso you’d think they’d be all for beautifying the gene pool with imports)

    Possibly they only detained her in order to get better acquainted. Maybe she had to work her passage (if you know what I mean)

  • On the buses

    The only thing surprising thing here is the infrequency of Mick’s cross border travel. Not only did he miss all of the ‘foot and mouth’ checkpoints but hasn’t noticed these checks which have been happening on the buses for three or four years now. On point of principle I has refused to produce id on a number of occasions, the Guard will usually walk on though after he has enticed a few words out of you in an Irish accent.

  • Mark McGregor

    otb,

    I once confused one by giving an ID card from another European country and speaking to him in my broadest Belfast, that was after other passengers on a previous journey started heckling me for delaying things by protesting at them singling out black passengers.

  • Mark McGregor

    The need for such checks is a damning endictment of Britain’s failure to deal with people traffickers who are often deeply involved in sexual slavery. It is very noticeable there is no need for similar checks travelling the other way – south to north .

  • Rubicon

    Mark – perhaps you can fill me in about people trafficking and sex slavery in NI?

    The people trafficking/sex slavery that I know of appears to point to a murdered Asian girl over a year ago – but I’m not aware of much else (NI wise). Don’t get me wrong – I’m 100% opposed to this activity but I just don’t see it as a pressing problem.

    What I do see as a problem is the wage slavery legal migrants are subjected to by Irish (and foreign) employers using employment agencies as a route to avoid prosecution – or family ties. It is the ‘slaves’ serving these masters who are visible. It’s this visibility that many object to.

    Sadly, we don’t have mines to put them in – instead they’re in our cities, in mid-Ulster and many are doing jobs nobody here wanted to do and ‘employed’ on scandalous conditions.

    It seems the rent collectors and ‘land agents’ of the Irish famine era have prospered well here in Ulster. They certainly “haven’t gone away you know”.

  • joeCanuck

    Rubicon,
    Are there no employment standards to be adhered to or no minimum wage requirements.
    Or are you saying the cute hoors have found a way around them?

  • Surely, border controls will, if anything, make people-trafficking an even more lucrative occupation.

  • Mark McGregor

    Rubicon,

    http://embraceni.org/category/trafficking/

    It is another one of those crimes the PSNI aren’t too concerned with but a major British problem and a reason why Ireland needs to be concerned about leaky British borders.

  • Rubicon

    Mark – thanks for the link – it gives room for serious thought but also raises questions that create a grey area between economic migration and human degradation – even when migrants enter the country legally.

    Joe – yes there is a way around the regulations and law – or at least there seems to be. There are 2 factors that seem to be most important; employment agencies and the existence of 2 sets of labour laws each side of the border.

    Eg; A young group of girls in Vilnius sees an employment agency ad for work in the UK with advertised “average rates of pay”. They sign up and some weeks later find themselves working 14 hours a day. Their accommodation is provided – as are meals but the ‘cost’ is deducted at source by the agency. The accommodation and food are awful but there’s not enough money left over to seek anything different – and even if they could – they’d need to find alternative transport (laid on in their Stalag) to get them to the factory. Their English skills are poor and there’s no real help available from the dependency the employment agency has – by design – plunged them in to.

    Since access to transportation can be the first impediment – access to the law is still a further reach. Once made they’ll then find that the factory is not the employer – in law the employment agency is the employer. This can be challenged – but only if one or more conditions are reached – among them;

    a) the agency has kept the worker with a single employer for so long that they may be deemed to be an employee. This is easily avoided by sacking agency workers within a year – or – the agency can achieve the same by moving their workers between employers.
    b) the employer treating an agency worker as an employee through granting them the same rights their own employees enjoy; i.e., spending money on their training and development or allowing them paid leave on statutory holidays.
    c) the minimum wage legislation applying to employees in the UK can be circumvented when the employment agency is not a registered company within the jurisdiction.

    As an emigrant yourself Joe – I’m sure you’ll find enough in just the above to suggest modalities for abuse.

  • The Dubliner

    What should happen is that Ireland should assert its status as an independent nation and assert its inalienable right to self-determination by retaining control of its sovereign borders, instead of surrendering control to elements that are outside the realm of accountability to the citizens of this state.

    This is not a choice between a rock and a hard place (i.e. surrender territorial sovereignty to Project Socialist Superstate of Europe or surrender territorial sovereignty to the United Kingdom) despite its presentation. The option that curiously isn’t presented via the media is the default option: that a sovereign nation state retains control of its own borders. It is not presented because it is implied that Ireland has no right to either self-determination, sovereignty or independence. This colonial mentality seems to have encountered little resistance on this issue – perhaps we’ll ban the centenary of the Easter Rising?

    The UK should rebuild the border between north and south if that expediency is required to secure its own territorial sovereignty. Northern nationalists can scream and cry all they wish but I see no reason to compromise Irish territorial sovereignty in order to promote Project Socialist Superstate of Europe or to facilitate the de fact re-colonisation of Ireland by the United Kingdom. Indeed, MI5’s citing its new headquarters in the north should have made it an imperative for the Republic to rebuild the border controls. Undermining Ireland’s economic interests is part of MI5’s strategy of protecting the UK’s national interests (economic interests are a national interest). Why are we allowing these agents unmonitored access to the Republic – simply because they took advantage of the removal of border controls to gain unmonitored access?

    What is preventing the border between two separate and competing sovereign states from going back up is the need by northern political parties to pretend to their voters that that an all-island is the same thing as a united Ireland. That grass deception is intended also to facilitate the integration of the nationalist/republican community into the UK by comforting them with the delusion of self-determination (one state) when the actuality is de jure consolidated two-states, with the vague hope offered to die-hards that the condition is only transitional rather than permanent.

    The willingness of northern nationalists to allow Irish territorial sovereignty to be compromised by the United Kingdom (if a “British Isles” approach to border control is agreed) shows that they would be happy to re-unite the island under the same terms that apply in the north. In effect, they will have moved from a position of Irish nationalism to, at worst, Carson unionism, or, at best, returning to Redmond’s vision of Home Rule under the British monarch.

  • joeCanuck

    Thanks for that lengthy reply, Rubicon.
    Certainly lots of food for thought.
    Possibly the biggest part of the problem there, unlike my experience, is the language difficulty.

  • Rubicon

    Dubliner – are northern nationalists the only nationalists left? “The willingness of northern nationalists … ” regarding sovereignty should at least be tempered with what southern nationalists agreed to. Perhaps it’s only northern nationalists that are the threat and should be taken off the bus, questioned and re-educated before entering your Ireland?

    Truth is – we never left it!

    For someone who posts many sensible challenges to NI this one is most dismaying. It smacks of southern superiority based on drawing a line in history that occurs after selling out the north and now markets the same as an obligation wholly falling on northern nationalists.

    PLEASE don’t speak of those your country ignored having the audacity to compromise its delusional politics – politics that has your PM in and out of a tribunal that was formed on suspicion of his corruption.

    A northern nationalist has the same right to aspiration as yourself. You may not like their aspirations – but tell me – what gives them a lesser right to express them, demand them – as seek to get them through whatever legal means left them after you guys started to butter your toast?

  • Rubicon

    Joe – you’re right about language – it is very important – particularly in the UK & Ireland where so few can speak a foreign language. Just before Christmas I tried speaking to my son on the phone to clarify the computer equipment he wanted. I couldn’t understand him, he got thick and hung up the phone.

    There is something truly intolerant in NI and it seems based on a myopia that extends 6 counties wide and probably much further.

    Even with English language skills immigrants to NI face an uncompromising ignorant and self righteous public who’ll not bother speaking slowly or stop dropping all vowels that they’re not happy replacing with “ae”.

    Beyond the unfriendly welcome NI gives immigrants rests the legal framework. This framework has employees working north with few rights and even less access to enabling those rights.

    In the future the economic need of NI to meet the need of its dependents will be the main reason action might occur. It won’t come soon – the south is equally as racist. NI’s excuse is that immigration is not a devolved matter – but pig ignorant racism is not inhibited by the Home Office.

    The employment agencies recruiting in the east are filling posts the idle don’t want. These agencies also fill many posts in the health service – without whom the service would start to crumble. But – exploitation of foreign workers happens here and it’s not a pretty sight.

    Perhaps NI is just primitive and needs primitive methods?

  • sportsman

    Well I flew back today from Glasgow to London Gatwick. And we all had to show passports. So whats that all about?

  • Mark McGregor

    Rubicon,

    It is one of those areas given very little concern be government as the victims are often criminalised themselves therefore both unprotected by ‘authority’ and hiding their own abuse and exploitation as they may see it as an inevitable consequence, normal or something they will be prosecuted/deported for.

    While not religious myself, that Christian site is one of the few local initiatives addressing the issue and fairplay to them.

    It is a very difficult area, for example I know of one website/group set up and endorsed by politicians in Britian and Ireland that involved business travellers naming and shaming hotels/resorts that were permitting sexual slavery, child prostitution slavery etc. Whilst a well meaning project it was rightly pointed out they would be a guidebook for abusers.

    Victims frightened to reveal what is happening and supporters that can compound a problem along with authority reluctant to treat it as serious is a recipe for misery. Those exploited for profit are very much a part of the economy throughout Ireland though I know of more people prosecuted for trading cheap cigarettes or fuel than humans.

  • Only Asking

    “we’d give your kid a place but the school needs the fees and you can’t pay ‘em.”

    As far as I’m aware thats only for the children of foreign students in the south, and they already know that before entry, its stipulated up front. I know for example that many indigeonous Irish cannot get primary school places for their children, and one mother on prime time told RTE that she had bought the house in Dublin 15 forthat very reason yet was unable to secure a place for her child at 4 but had to wait until 5and a half.
    There is a school soley for the children of immigrants in Balbriggan – which the local population have rightly said is racist and discriminatory, since their children are not allowed to attend. So all isn’t rosy in the Irish garden, immigration is causing major problems with people fighting over scarce resources.

  • Only Asking

    “Every time I hit the refresh button on Slugger that damned video plays telling me about our fuel poverty. Stop the migrants if you like but Mrs Doyle or people of like mind will need to find other ways of keeping warm than seeking state handouts.”

    What are you on about?

  • Ozy

    Not happy at all about the border checks. Seems to go completely against the whole spirit of the peace process. What’s the point of building a spanking new motorway between Dublin and Belfast if the traffic is to be backed up at the border?

    Last time I was stopped the Garda did check everyone on the bus, not just the “foreign looking” people. But 9 times out of 10 they’ll make a beeline for the non-whites and only check out them.

    As for the Polish girl – well this is the EU, and if a strong North Antrim accent is enough to get waved by then a strong Warsaw or Kracow accent should be equally as good!

    Besides, practically speaking, what happens to the people they drag off the bus – I presume they just run them back up to Newry? So what’s to stop them finding another way down?

    Its absolutely useless in practical terms – my guess is that the policy has been put in place just to appease the quasi-racism against immigrants prevalent among a portion of the population on both sides of the border.

    As a dual citizen I feel it devalues the meaning of my Irish citizenship to be stopped and asked for “your papers please” like this. I’ve never experienced any such hassle when returning to the UK on the bus up from Dublin.

    Shame on Bertie. Some republican he is!

  • Only Asking

    “There is something truly intolerant in NI and it seems based on a myopia that extends 6 counties wide and probably much further.”

    Thats a very sweeping statement there. And its not particulary true. An East Belfast Minister fought for and stopped the immigration of a Nigerian mother and her children, she was taken from her home and brought to Yarlwood in England. But the deportation has been put on hold now. There have been other incidents of this nature, to say that NI is racist-is to protray your own view and not actually the reality.

    Yes there has been abuse of foreign workers, but that is not something defined by NI, it’s happening world over, and to put the view that peoples fears, whether in the republic or the north over scarce resources as thinly veiled racism is wrong. They aren’t racist, they are concerned – about their childrens education, about jobs for themselves and a whole range of other issues.

    There must be enough of a concern in the south for them to look at the border and introduce it again. For programmes like RTE prime time to produce the material they did. Thats not racism, thats concern, and people must feel its legitimate concern, for their families and their welfare. Remember they live in the real world not a socialist utopia.

  • Mark McGregor

    Ozy,

    This attitude was a direct result of the little Irelander attitude of our thankfully former Minister McDowell. What a pity his racist influence wasn’t dumped in the same way he was.

  • Mark McGregor

    Mrs Doyle,

    There is a generally shared experience on most occasions of people being singled out by ethnic appearance. That is racism. You have border controls applied to all or you have racism. Irish and British citizens can be white, black, chinese and everything else. An Garda singling people out by look is abhorrent regardless of how ‘concerned’ some people might get. ‘Concern’ is no excuse for treating people as 2nd class.

  • Only Asking

    And I agree that border controls should be applied to all. But the source of the problem lies with immigration and numbers, not the colour of ones skin or . I have to produce an ID going to England, I’d gladly produce it going to Dublin, in order to gain some security over the borders, and about who is coming and going. Illegals are a problem, background checking is a problem, problems with asylum in both durisdictions, and problems with so many dependent on crumbling infrastructures and scarce resources. Yes I agree many are racist, but not all. Neither is abuse a sole problem of NI. Thats happened world over.

    I’d be the first against profiling if that is what is happening. But profiling and abuse are only part of a complex problem and to tag it all as racist is plain wrong.

  • Rubicon

    Mrs Doyle – you’ll not be surprised when I tell you that I could hardly disagree with you more. You make your points calmly and sensibly but they lack evidence of any sort – other than what the media think might improve their ratings/sales.

    So, there’s a school for immigrants. Jesus, Mary and Joseph – they’d be playing blue murder if the same children were put straight in to primary/national schools when the children didn’t speak English fluently.

    For some – any state effort to respond to immigration is wrong. 30,000 human beings entered NI last year – 5,500 of them from Poland (the largest single group outside of the UK and Ireland). These people enter jobs and work for a living.

    If 6 months later some call their family over – fair enough. Perhaps some of their children may be of an age that would make transition to our education system a problem and so the state has provided support for that. The state then finds itself accused by racists (xenophobes) of misplacing its resources.

    If you want to cover your xenophobia by claiming economics then answer me this – how much did it cost for the Irish child to be born, how much did it cost to bring it to school age and then measure those figures against how much it costs to teach a young child English. Then when you’re done, count up your savings to provide for your old age – the welfare system requires people to pay in more than they take out. NI’s demography and economic activity (or the lack of it) will ensure that a economic balance of accounts arises.

    I have no time for this thinly veiled racism. In my experience it is most often put by those already state dependent who are determined to remain so. It may be my duty to pay for idleness – but I don’t like it and welcome all people from foreign shores who arrive with a view to earning a living – rather than those ‘mother-born-Irish’ some of whom believe life owes them a living.

    I wonder where they got that idea? I got mine from being an emigrant who worked abroad in many countries. I worked abroad when there were no jobs in Ireland and the “26 counties” wouldn’t offer me a job because I couldn’t speak Irish. When I walk through Belfast or Dublin now I see more ad’s in windows offering employment (that I’d have taken) than were available nationally in the 80’s.

    Dress up your xenophobia in “commerce” if you wish. I remember similar views when working in Stuttgart when some Germans there looked down their noses at the Irish as “better than having the Turks”. Thankfully, the vast majority of Germans didn’t think similarly – nor did the Brazilians, nor did the Zambians, nor did the British – and I’m sure, nor do the Irish.

  • Harry Flashman

    Rubicon

    *The legal migrants entering NI are an asset without whom; NI’s dependents (growing in number each year) will either be told “sorry – no heart op for you”, or, “sorry – no DLA for you”, or, “we’d give your kid a place but the school needs the fees and you can’t pay ‘em. Sorry – do please move on …”. The list could be very long for the demands made by NI on the public purse.*

    Ah, the old “we need immigrants to sustain our welfare state” myth, very appealing but falls flat on its face when it is pointed out that immigrants also get old, have children that need to go to school and often make use of the health service.

    So what to do? Keep bringing in more and more immigrants until the population of the UK reaches 100 million (it’s already unofficially estimated at 70 million)?

    Or reform the ludicrous social welfare system to get the millions of “economically inactive” natives back to work in a full employment economy and also reform the horrifically mismanaged health service and pension systems, oh and encourage the natives to start having babies again to fund their own old age instead of importing babies from the third world to do it for them.

    Just a thought.

    One other thing do the Gards check the 9.30 am Lough Swilly Bus from Carndonagh to Derry, who knows it could be a hotbed of people trafficking.

  • Finbar

    I am a Belfast born Australian and the Gards asked everyone for ID on a recent bus trip down to Dublin.

    I produced my Australian drivers ID and didn’t tell him i was an Irish citizen and the cop asked “where is your passport?” I replied in my aussie accent “up the road in my granny’s house”. This was accepted without fuss but with the remark “you need your passport as its a different country and all down here…” And there I was thinking we were all on the one road.

  • lib2016

    Surprised that no-one has mentioned the recent che king of negotiators ampaign against Southern shoppers going North by the Southern Chambers of Commerce. They have to be seen as doing something and no-one knows that all politics is local better than Fianna Fail.

    As for Berte’s comments? He’s the king of negotiators and this made be part of the process. If talks break down then Fianna Fail certainly won’t want to take the blame. Far better to broadcast one’s good intentions outside while talking tough inside.

  • Only Asking

    Rubicon, your argument – if one could call it that – appears to be lacking in evidence, and since Harry Flashman has already pointed out the other side to it, I’ll only put a few more points to you.

    Calling opponents of your argument racist – has lost it’s value. The British government is about to allow failed asylum seekers to stay because they have been in the country that long. This amounts to about a quarter of a million people. Do they or you know how many are economically active? How many of them are going to need state services? The NHS? Education and housing? If you say you are compelled to pay for economic idleness – how many of these people are your tax pounds funding?
    Are there jobs natives won’t do – you bet. Why? Because it doesn’t make economic sense for them to get off their butts and provide for their families. Do you think perhaps one reason for that could be that wages have been kept down due to cheap imported labour? Or has it absolutely no bearing on it? What do you think, in your experience, since that seems to be the only evidence you’re working on.

    “So, there’s a school for immigrants. Jesus, Mary and Joseph – they’d be playing blue murder if the same children were put straight in to primary/national schools when the children didn’t speak English fluently.”

    But that is exactly what is happening – and yes I don’t live in Dublin and my evidence is based on Primetime, but I didn’t see an outcry to claim what the programme produced was wrong. Did you? Why can’t the children of what you call Irish born mothers access that school for immigrants for their children too. Or is discrimination ok in your book if it is against the host population? Discrimination is discrimination no matter who its against.

    “I have no time for this thinly veiled racism. In my experience it is most often put by those already state dependent who are determined to remain so.”

    And therein lies your argument. Anyone who disagrees with your opinion is either racist or dependent on benefits. If you think that is the case you need to widen your experience – it’s usually the right of centre who disagree with immigration rather than the left, and those who have opinions that are right of centre are usually not state dependant.

  • Harry Flashman

    What is the legal position of these checkpoints? I don’t know but I’d be surprised if the law said Irish citizens had to produce id to the Gardai while in Ireland, is it part of the Emergency Powers?

    Surely there is a whopping lawsuit waiting to be won by the first Irish citizen with the ‘wrong’ colour of skin or ‘wrong’ accent being taken off a bus and detained because he doesn’t happen to be carrying an Irish passport while travelling in Ireland.

  • Rubicon

    So Harry & Mrs Doyle – your policy response is to get Irish citizens to start breeding while at the same time criticizing the demographic deficit argument? Apart from being contradictory – how do you suggest the government go about this “home grown breeding policy”?

    Harry – your assumption that correcting the age imbalance inevitably leads to ever increasing immigration is simply wrong. The problem is in achieving a stable population that can provide for its dependents. The greatest part of this dependency is through an increasing aging population. Domestic birth deficits of the past can’t be rectified retrospectively no matter how successful your ‘breeding policy’ might be.

    Of NI’s 9,000+ net migrants (’05-’06) almost 90% were under the age of 35. You may find the following interesting evidence of the very high number of worker registrations occurring among the young immigrants entering NI.

    http://www.nisra.gov.uk/archive/demography/population/migration/NI_Migration_Report(2006).pdf
    http://www.nisra.gov.uk/archive/demography/population/migration/Net_Mig0506.xls
    http://www.nisra.gov.uk/archive/demography/population/migration/In_Mig0506.xls

    As for immigrants lowering wages – the national minimum wage is set centrally and is not the product of a free market where Irish/UK born are out-bid by immigrants. Pressure on government to raise the minimum wage level would require attention to a number of important matters – among them; inflation and the economics of lowering dependency and eliminating the poverty trap. Immigration would hardly feature in such a debate.

    The school you refer to Mrs Doyle I’m assuming is the one created as a result of 50 children being refused school places in Balbriggan – all 50 of them turned out to be black. This arose due to the mass of school provision being done by Catholic schools who gave applicants who were Catholic preference. So – yes – discrimination has something to do with the issue but its not quite as you describe is it?

  • Only Asking
  • Only Asking
  • Only Asking

    Yes, the catholic church created a problem, with birth certs but lots of immigrant children are catholic too You are basing your argument on skin colour. The discrimination arose due to religion. But I take your point, I did only catch a small end of the programme on you tube and missed the full debate. I stand corrected on that one.

  • Illegal immigration into Ireland is an offence committed almost definitionally by people of swarthy hue.

    What, you mean like Russians and Ukrainians?

    I’d like to stop contributions from Immigrants like this

    So would I. I’d also like to stop contributions from Irish people like this – you aren’t so stupid as to think benefit fraud is a purely immigrant problem? I’d also like to stop Irish people doing the same thing in Britain or Canada.

    What is your point?

  • Only Asking

    “you aren’t so stupid”

    So far in this debate there has been no personal abuse, people can argue without it. Rephrase your question or I won’t debate you.

  • Rubicon

    Fair enough – being concerned does not a racist make. As to immigrants being involved in crime and social security fraud – I’m sure the problem isn’t among immigrants alone. Ireland’s greatest gangsters seem to be domestic creations. As RTE reports the pattern for immigrants is of low take up of social security benefits. Les Allamby (Director NI’s Law Centre) also comments on Romanian access to social security being severely limited and contributing to child poverty.

    Yet, in the South, non-nationals make up almost 10pc of the Irish population, and the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism believes there are currently up to 200,000 migrant workers living here, paying about €500m each year in taxes. Mr Hughes (IIB Bank economist) has recently pointed out that despite the dip in consumer sentiment, spending was strong. He puts this down to the increasing numbers at work in the economy, with the influx of migrant labour helping to keep retail spending buoyant.

    The Economist has recently published a review of immigration to the EU that’s heavily critical of the xenophobia it has created in some EU countries. The article points to immigration being insufficient and likely to be too short lived due to rising labour costs in the East. The Bank of England has recently observed the positive contribution made by migrant workers.

    When it comes to immigration you have to be careful what you wsh for.

  • Only Asking

    “When it comes to immigration you have to be careful what you wsh for”

    I agree, some excellent points. Let me read your links and get back to you. As to the social security fraud you are right its not a total immigrant problem but when added to the cost of interpeters (2million Euro) on( bogusasylum crackdowns, not knowning how many immigrants in the country,( eight
    percent of prisoners in Irish jails are not of Irish descent each prisoner costing 91,000 euro each year)Social security, etc etc etc one wonders how long this can be sustained.

    For the record my problem is not immigration, but huge uncontrolled numbers entering and we simply don’t know who they are or how many. And no I don’t condone it by the Irish in other parts of the world either.

  • Rubicon

    Mrs Doyle – your first link doesn’t appear to work but I looked at your second link. From your own reference – less than 1.5% of the prison population consists of those held for immigration issues and the rate of criminality is shown to be lower among immigrants – 8%.

  • So far in this debate there has been no personal abuse, people can argue without it.

    I don’t know about that. Posting an isolated link of a single crime committed by a single group of immigrants sounds like personal abuse of a whole group of people to me. Presumably with the intention of implying that immigrants tend to be criminals; I see no other point.

    Oh, and you need to get your arguments from somewhere other than Hibernia Girl.

  • Only Asking

    Not all my arguments were from Hibernia girl but yes I read Hibernia girl. The problem with that is?

    As to the link I already addressed those points to someone else, unless of course posting a link that I read about on Hibernia girl is abusive? Perhaps I ought to read more of you on slugger and learn how men cannot phrase an argument without rudeness.

    Your point?

  • Only Asking

    “Oh, and you need to get your arguments from somewhere other than Hibernia Girl. ”

    Best come clean then and tell you some of the other links are from you tube and google.

    Phew! Glad to get that of my chest.
    *rolleyes*

    Now unless you can be civil don’t address me again.

  • PaddyReilly

    Sammy Morse, you will notice I included the word ‘almost’ in my description. That allows for a few exceptions.

    For a country which has not yet managed to absorb fully the immigrants of the 17th century, obviously immigration into Ireland is something that has to be kept under tight control. Or perhaps you think Connacht Leinster and Munster should also shed six counties to some occupying power?

    Ideally this would be an immigration of individuals, who would rapidly by marriage be absorbed into the general population. Indeed this has been the rule up till now: my great-aunts married Italians and Swiss without ever leaving Ireland.

    What has to be clamped down on are immigrants from cultures where there is a tradition of selling brides for immigration purposes (read ‘arranged marriages’); cultures which despise Irish and Catholics and consider themselves superior to them; and people who are so ethnically and culturally different that generations hence their descendants will still consider themselves outsiders. This is for their good as much as it is for ours. Otherwise Ireland will go the same way as Yugoslavia (some might say, it already has).

    A good deal of discrimination is required: and yet, a whole tribe has sprung up which thinks that discrimination is the greatest of all sins. It may be wrong in polite society, but it is absolutely necessary in immigration control.

  • “For the record my problem is not immigration, but huge uncontrolled numbers entering and we simply don’t know who they are or how many.”
    Mrs Doyle heartily agree-which brings us back to the land border between the ROI and UK.
    What to do?

  • Dewi

    They never stop the train though do they ? Best form of transport.

  • Only Asking

    Rubicon I read your links, thanks. Firstly I’d like to say that the link containing the business paper points to gloomy economic prospects. This also was the forecast for Britain which I observed on the news recently. This video on you tube (a bit grainy) points out Irelands vulnerabilities in this area. (Cheap oil -Ireland is the third heaviest dependent country in Europe on oil and the soloution offered is nuclear fuel), cheap housing which is underpinned by cheap labour, and concludes when these 3 things are under threat the country is vulnerable.

    “Mrs Doyle heartily agree-which brings us back to the land border between the ROI and UK.
    What to do?”

    Phil in the same link, click more about this video is this :
    “We already know that Ireland takes in more immigrants per head than any other EU country and this includes the UK and
    Sweden – the only two other EU countries with an open borders policy to the new eastern states of the Union. We are also
    absorbing more migrants per head than the US. If the US were to match the per capita Irish figures, it would have taken in close
    to 15 million people in the past two years – twice the population of New York! Compared with other European countries with more restrictive policies, the Irish numbers are
    startling. We are now absorbing seven times per head more than France and the Netherlands. Anecdotal evidence suggests that immigration is increasing not decreasing. The impact of foreign workers is being felt in every county and town around the country”

    – David McWilliams
    Irish economist & broadcaster”

    A slow down, or even a cessation in immigration until things are sorted would be my first choice, failing that an honest debate would be a start. If the Irish as a nation do not handle immigration properly then the Irish will not only replicate the mistakes of the UK and France, but the effect will be much more devistating for the whole of Irish society.

  • páid

    PaddyReilly’s view has a lot of merit.

    Future generations may well see the Troubles as a problem caused by non-integration of a large number of immigrants concentrated in a geographical area with a separate culture.

    (In my view, a non-integration prolonged by the IRA)

    Happens all over the world.

    The advocates of an open door policy should be sent to Portadown to ponder.

    And if I were on a packed bus in deepest China and the immigration police picked out my pudgy pink face for questioning I think I wouldn’t be very offended at all.