President McAleese on Immigration

President Mary McAleese has delivered a speech to the Immigrant Council of Ireland, which highlights the need for integration of new communities while respecting cultural and ethnic diversity. In the speech the President notes the historical parallels with Irish emigration. She speaks of the need for inclusiveness and interaction with those immigrants who come to our shores, and for the need to break down the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality. The full speech by President McAleese may be accessed here.

This speech is particularly interesting in the context of the reform of our immigration laws by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2007, which lapsed upon the calling of the 2007 General Election outlined 21st century Ireland’s approach to the issue of migration and asylum. A new Bill seems likely to be brought forward within the New Year. There were a number of criticisms of the Scheme to the 2007 Bill from the Irish Refugee Council, Irish Human Rights Commission, CADIC and the CCJHR.

This post was contributed by PhD candidate, Liam Thornton