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The Irish Government has been deporting asylum-seekers from Ireland since the beginning of March 1998. To date, twelve people have been forcibly removed from the jurisdiction of the Republic with no regard for plight or circumstance. In one case, an asylum-seeker was so distressed by his situation that he attempted sucide. However, this desperate action did not sway the Irish Immigration officials - the apprehended asylum-seeker was given medical attention at a Dublin hospital and immediately afterwards placed on a plane out of Ireland!
Irish anarchists are participating in a series of protest actions that will be taking place throughout Ireland on Saturday, April 25. This is the first major mobilisation of the anti-deportation movement in Ireland and protests are planned for Dublin, Cork and Belfast. All the main pro-immigrant and anti-racism organisations are supporting this day of action, including The Association of Refugees and Asylum Seekers, The Anti-Racist Campaign, Immigrant Solidarity and Anti-Fascist Action. Irish anarchists believe that action and solidarity is the way to stop the Irish Government in its unjust and inhumane actions against asylum seekers. We call on our international comrades to help us make this day an effective day of action.
What We Are Asking You To Do:
1) Organise a protest at the Irish Embassy in your country (see details above)
2) Contact groups and newspapers associated with the Irish Community in your country. If Irish community organisations are already organising something, join with them. If not, raise the issue with them and work to persuade them to take a stand (no matter how small) on this issue. Write to any newspapers that are part of the Irish community in your country so as to publicise this issue. (For example, The Irish Post in the UK; the Irish Voice in the USA)
3) Write, fax or email messages condemning the action of the Irish Government to:Minister John O'Donoghue Dept of Justice, Equality and Law Reform 72-76 St Stephen's Green Dublin 2 Ph: 353-1-6028202 Fax 353-1-6615461 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
4) Important: If possible send a report of your protest or action to either of the organisations, below. [Reports will be added to a dedicated page at the Revolt web site. A report on the Day Of Action will be forwarded to all the organisations and groups that participate on April 25].
(Supplementary to the above)
1) There are between 4000 and 5000 asylum seekers in the Republic of Ireland at the present time. Although this is, proportionately speaking, a very small number of people, the Irish Government and sections of the Irish media have reacted in an ungenerous and racist manner. Last year, despite over 3000 applications for asylum, just two persons were granted refugee status!
2) The disgraceful response of the Irish Government is further underlined by Ireland's traditional position as a net exporter of people. Irish people have been emigrating for well over a hundred years. Even in the last decade, the number of people who left Ireland because of the dire economic situation was huge. For example, at the present time, the number of Irish passport holders in the city of Munich (Germany) alone is over 8000 (1.6 times the total number of asylum-seekers in Ireland!). This gives a clear indication of the Irish Government's double standard.
3) The Government's discriminatory activity is fuelling racist attitudes in parts of Irish society. Already there have been attempts to set up a racist party, called The Immigration Control Platform. There have been attacks and threats directed at asylum-seekers. Only last week (28 March) the Irish Refugee Council's office in Ennis, Co Clare was attacked and vandalised; anti-immigrant graffiti was sprayed on the wall.
4) The Irish Goverment has carried out the recent deportations under the jurisdiction of the Dublin Convention. Under this 'convention' an asylum seeker must apply for asylum in the first EU country into which s/he arrives. As Ireland is an island, it is almost impossible for refugees to get here without first touching down in another country. Under the Dublin Convention, asylum seekers are to be returned to the first EU country in which they arrived. From a legal stand-point, the Dublin Convention gives the Irish Goverment virtually unassailable power over asylum-seekers.
5) It is also interesting to note that the Irish Goverment is not in itself averse to certain types of immigrants. 'Irish' citizenship is regularly 'sold' to the rich and wealthy of the world in return for 'investment money'. However the asylum-seekers that are being targeted by the Irish Government, through the Dublin Convention, are not rich or powerful; on the contrary most are poor with few if any resouces to fall back on.
6) Lastly, asylum-seekers who come to Ireland are not allowed to work or study until their cases have been processed by the Government. Currently this is taking more than 3 years. In the meantime asylum-seekers must claim social welfare benefit (or starve). They can only claim social welfare at the lowest possible payment.