TDs fear immigration vote backlash

Over a third of TDs are afraid that speaking out about immigration rights could lose them electoral support, a new report has revealed.

Over a third of TDs are afraid that speaking out about immigration rights could lose them electoral support, a new report has revealed.

A survey for the Integration Centre about TDs’ attitudes found that 36% of deputies believe openly supporting immigrants would negatively impact their political standing.

Integration Centre chief executive Killian Forde said the figures were startling.

“These figures point to societal problems and flaws in the system,” Mr Forde said.

“We need to start addressing these issues from an informed, evidence-based position.

“We are making this presentation to TDs today to reflect back their own attitudes, the contradictions the survey highlights and present some low cost solutions that will assist with integration.”

Three-fifths (60%) of TDs said they had experienced some form of racism while out on the streets canvassing, yet only 25% are unfamiliar with anti-racism strategies in their own constituencies.

“At the moment integration strategies are actively in place at the local level through the development of integration plans and other work,” said Mr Forde.

“However, there is neither a minister with the remit of integration, as there was with the last Government, or a national integration plan.

“This laissez faire attitude will have ramifications.”

Some 74 of the Dáil’s 165 TDs responded to the survey by Millard Brown Lansdowne between June and July last year.

Paul Moran for the company pointed out that there were some contradictions in the deputies’ opinions.

“Some 73% agreed that the school curriculum should be expanded to reflect the more diverse faiths and cultures that are now in Ireland,” explained Mr Moran.

“But only 62% agreed that more resources should be allocated to assisting with the further integration of migrants from non-English-speaking backgrounds.

“It’s very nice and aspirational to say one thing but when it comes to actually moving money around, opinions clearly become diluted.”

The Integration Centre has made a number of recommendations on the foot of the survey, including splitting Government responsibility of immigration and integration evenly between the Department of Justice and the Department of the Environment.

“At the moment it’s spread too wide across the departments,” said Mr Forde.

He also suggested that the Government introduces legislation to make racism an aggravating factor in sentencing to deter racists and bigots.

Boosting integration within schools and helping immigrants find work were other measures recommended following the report.

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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