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Nothing is likely to have gladdened the hearts of the criminal gangs who control smuggling of displaced people in the Mediterranean region than the spectacle of three government ministers traipsing all the way to Malta for a spurious media photo opportunity aboard the LE Eithne.
The likelihood of these criminals laughing all the way to the bank, at our expense, will have been further elevated by the declaration that Ireland is to host a further 600 refugees causing even more money to be extorted, with violent menace and lethal threat, from victims travelling into the Mediterranean aboard their grossly overcrowded vessels.
Between January 2009 and last May, statistics from the Refugee Applications Commissioner indicates that there were over 10,600 applications from asylum seekers seeking to be declared a refugee in Ireland.
During this period a positive recommendation to grant refugee status was made in respect of 567 applicants, predominantly, in the instance of 2014, from Pakistan, Nigeria, Albania, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
A conversion rate of 5.4% from the status of asylum applicant to refugee would imply that an additional 11,000 asylum seekers will find their way to Ireland on foot of the declaration to host an additional 600 refugees from North Africa and the Middle East.
The total cost of the direct provision service for asylum seekers between 2009 and 2014 exceeded €400 million – equivalent to an average of over €700,000 for each applicant vetted and granted refugee status.
There were 4,353 asylum seekers availing of this service in June 2014, with an average stay per person of 48 months.
The length of average stay is aggravated by the proportion of asylum seekers who fail to cooperate with the asylum process as required under the provisions of the Refugee Act 1996, who fail to attend screening interviews, or who undertake serial appeals to the State.
As was the case with the introduction of water rates, the Government has totally neglected to persuade public opinion that the prospect of more than doubling the scale of what is arguably a flawed asylum process is desirable.
Furthermore, the Government has utterly failed, either unilaterally or bilaterally with other jurisdictions, to demonstrate any determination to combat the heinous crime of people smuggling.
Ireland is being set up as a “soft-touch” destination that people smugglers will aggressively exploit to our determinant and to the determinant of tens of thousands of displaced persons who arrive here.
The vast majority of these people will never be declared refugees in Ireland.
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