Fianna Fáil Senator for Kildare South, Fiona O’Loughlin, is calling for the fast-tracking of citizenship for non-national healthcare workers.   

Speaking in the Seanad, Senator O’Loughlin commented, “Migrants currently make up 26% of essential workers in Ireland and our hospitals have been very active in seeking work permits for non-EU staff since the beginning of the Covid crisis.   

“Without their work, the country’s efforts to combat Covid-19 might well have collapsed. They have been the backbone of the Irish healthcare system.   

The Senator outlined that delays in the current system are causing frustration and desperation.   

“There are between 500-800 essential working asylum seekers currently risking their lives every day during this pandemic – Asylum seekers are making a difference to the everyday lives of Irish people. 

“Healthcare workers and their families who meet citizenship requirements should have their applications expedited. At an unstable time, we need to provide stability for our essential frontline workers. Dr Liqa ur Rehman tells us that most foreign doctors end up waiting eight years for Irish citizenship.  

“The contribution made by these hardworking people should be reflected in the processing of their citizenship applications.  

“An online petition launched by Dr Mohsin Kamal of Crumlin hospital, calls on the Department of Justice to expedite the citizenship process of the foreign frontline workers who form the backbone of our health system here and I feel strongly that this must be looked at by the Department of Justice” concluded the Senator.