Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on European Affairs Timmy Dooley has criticised the Government’s response to the migration crisis gripping Europe.  Deputy Dooley is urging the Government to hold a national policy forum on migration to develop Ireland’s response to the escalating crisis and seek to host a European Summit on the issue.

Deputy Dooley has said “a national dialogue with aid agencies and civic society groups would be an important component ahead of a European Summit, hosted by Ireland.  The conference would be aimed at identifying new measures that can be put in place at EU level to address the migration crisis.”

Deputy Dooley, a member of the Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs, said the Government has been too silent on the issue to date and the ‘build higher fences/send in the dogs’ response being pursued by some countries is not the answer.

The Fianna Fáil Vice President recently travelled to Calais and witnessed the scale of the problem there first hand.  NGOs working on the frontline say much more needs to be done to tackle the crisis.

Deputy Dooley commented: “The unprecedented hardship and tragedy we’re witnessing in countries in the Middle East and north Africa are the root causes for the migration crisis gripping Europe and we believe the EU must take a responsible and collective approach.  Unfortunately I don’t believe Ireland is doing enough.  The Irish Navy has saved thousands of lives in the Mediterranean Sea and we are very proud of that – but we can and should do much more.

“It’s now clear that the Dublin Regulation which governs the asylum process is inadequate to deal with the scale of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Italy, Greece and Hungary.  It is therefore timely I believe to review this policy.

“Other EU states are failing to meet their obligations as members of the union as well.  The EU was founded on the principles of community and solidarity and it is clear some member states are being overwhelmed by the crisis.

“Europe is in the midst of the largest humanitarian emergency of this generation.  How we respond as a community of nations is extremely important.  That is why I am urging the Government to present a plan to the European Union for Ireland to host a European Summit on migration.  As a prelude to that we need to have a national dialogue with aid agencies and civic society groups to best shape Ireland’s response.

“I am surprised by the lack of public comment from the Minister for European Affairs Dara Murphy, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan and the Taoiseach.  Europe needs strong leadership on this issue and Ireland knows more than most countries the compassion that other countries have shown to our citizens over many decades.  I believe Ireland is uniquely placed to host a European Summit on the migration crisis and has a proven record at EU level of delivering comprehensive agreements on major issues facing our community of nations.”