Ireland’s migrant history should galvanise Kenny

As the Taoiseach meets with his EU counterparts to discuss the ongoing loss of live in the Mediterranean, we hope he will keep Ireland’s long history of migration in mind.

Men, women and children are fleeing war and persecution cross the Mediterranean today with the same hopes and fears as our ancestors who journeyed across the Atlantic.

If the Taoiseach and other EU leaders are truly committed to halting the mounting death toll on our borders, their path is clear. An enhanced and expanded search and rescue programme must commence immediately.

Leaders must agree to a comprehensive resettlement programme to respond to global conflicts, taking account of the varying resources and populations of member states — in this regard, Ireland’s track record is poor.

In addition, the reunification of families from countries experiencing armed conflicts must be facilitated by humanitarian admission programmes.

Finally, the EU’s migration policies must be overhauled to ensure safe and humane regular channels of migration. No-one should have to resort to routes where their fundamental rights, and their very lives, are placed at risk.

If we are to adequately respond to the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean, these actions are not optional: they are essential, and urgent.

Edel McGinley

Director, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland

Sue Conlan, CEO

Irish Refugee Council

37 Dame Street

Dublin 2

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

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