Thursday 23 February 2017

'Migrants need to be represented in Dail'

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Dil Wickremasinghe is very excited about voting in Ireland for the first time. She is one of the thousands of new voters granted citizenship since 2007.

Ms Wickremasinghe was born in Italy to Sri Lankan parents and is now living in Dublin. An Irish citizen since last June, she moved here 10 years ago with her partner.

"Many Irish people vote because of family loyalty, but migrants tend to be more objective. I'm voting for Independents because while there are wonderful politicians, the system needs to be overhauled.

"The system is not representative. There isn't enough young people, women or people with disabilities. Migrants are 10pc of the population, but there isn't a single migrant in the Dail."

All politicians should be obliged to work with community groups to see how their decisions impact on the least well-off, she believes.

Cuts in pay for politicians, the President and civil servants are needed. Quangos should be abolished. An overhaul of the immigration system is also required, she adds.

Sarah Poni Duku, a married mum of two from Kajikeji, Sudan, came here to study in 1995. She became a citizen in 2009. Living in Drogheda, the first priority for the new government should be the economy and job creation, she says.

"Childcare is a big issue, we need a tax break for families raising children. My child is three and they're looking for €150 a week for a creche. My daughter is 10 and I rely on a good samaritan who takes her after school," she says.

"I want to see a system where healthcare is free. You're paying taxes to cover all those things.

"I saw Micheal Martin leading different departments and thought he was the right person. I think Fianna Fail can fix the mess and make it better."

Irish Independent

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