Silence of Parliament on Refugee Emergency is National Disgrace

Published on: 05 September 2015

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on European Affairs Timmy Dooley has written to the Taoiseach urging him to ensure the Dáil meets next week to discuss the escalating refugee emergency in Europe.

Speaking after discussing the crisis with Fianna Fáil’s European party group, ALDE, in Brussels, Deputy Dooley commented: “It is a national disgrace that the parliament would remain silent on Ireland’s response to the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.

“Members of the public have taken to the airwaves to express their frustration with Ireland’s response to this crisis so far. Fianna Fáil has been urging the government for months to engage with colleagues in Europe to ensure there is a co-ordinated response. The lack of a strategic plan at EU level is forcing countries to act unilaterally.

“The lack of leadership on this issue is breath-taking. We need to see a comprehensive European Leaders’ summit that will pull together a series of measures to be taken to deal with this escalating emergency. I have urged the government to also hold a national forum on migration so that we can best articulate how Ireland can respond to the crisis.

“The Luxembourg Presidency of the European Council has convened an extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Brussels for September 14th. I am aware that Ministers will be briefed at the meeting about migration flows by the European agencies Frontex and EASO (European Asylum Support Office) and will also be discussing the return policy and measures to prevent trafficking. These are important issues, any criminal element in trafficking should be rooted out, but I am increasingly concerned about the lack of a summit of EU leaders to deal with the humanitarian crisis.

“It’s clear we need much more joined-up action at EU level and Ireland needs to have an important national discussion on the scale of the challenges presented by this crisis and what we can do. That discussion should be held in a special Dáil session next week. I hope the Taoiseach will understand the need for this and act accordingly.”

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