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Instead of building wire barricades and sending boats back to Northern Africa, Europe urgently needs to put mechanisms in place to ensure routes to safety for people fleeing for survival.
Every country in Europe, including Ireland, must increase the number of refugees it takes in, with immediate effect. It must also put in place the supports required to enable people traumatised by war, hunger, displacement, the death of loved ones and exploitation by traffickers to live in environments where their dignity and well-being are respected.
There is something else that Ireland can do to address what has become known as the refugee crisis.
We can, with immediate effect, stop contributing to the conflict and wars that cause people to have to flee for survival.
Right now, armed US troops and military planes move through Shannon Airport on a regular basis. We contribute to the NATO-led operations in Afghanistan, a country that has been brought to its knees by the US/NATO invasion, and we supported the equally devastating NATO invasion of Libya.
And we provide tax breaks and other supports to companies that develop and manufacture components used in the lethal weapons systems that kill innocent people throughout the Middle East. We can end all this immediately, and we can spend the money saved helping people whose lives have been destroyed by war.
We should also bear in mind that groups like ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front that are causing terror all across the Middle East were born from the invasion of Iraq, evolving from al-Qaeda’s Iraq franchise into the organised militias they are today.
Ireland provided material support for that invasion by making Shannon Airport available to the invading US military.
We took part in the occupation of Afghanistan. We turned a blind eye to the CIA rendition flights and assassination crews that used Shannon as a base for practices that caused loathing of the West.
We tacitly supported plans for military intervention in Syria, for the “no fly zones” that are a euphemism for aerial bombardment, and for Turkish incursions across the border.
Because of this we have an increased responsibility to act, to right the wrongs we helped cause. The global military-industrial complex that lies behind the “floods of migrants” spoken about by Europe’s leaders has sucked in governments and corporations as well as non-government terrorist organisations, and has contributed to increasing levels of inequality and fear in countries where the weapons of war are being designed and developed. Its time Ireland took a stand and said enough is enough.
As a country that claims to promote peace and justice, we cannot continue to do the opposite.
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