Sunday 25 September 2016

Our selfish response to the escalating refugee crisis

Published 03/09/2015 | 02:30

European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy: defended Coalition policy
European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy: defended Coalition policy

For more than three decades, Ireland was happy to modernise an outdated national infrastructure with EU money and support. However, the minute we were due to become net contributors to the European project, we began to question our position through a series of referendums - to the point of repeating them until we managed to get the right answer.

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However, this ungracious and self-serving national attitude should not, as Colette Browne so incisively points out, surprise us (Irish Independent, September 1).

We used the same fallacious economic and nationalist arguments in the 1930s to exclude potential Jewish refugees. This was reflected by Dara Murphy, our European Affairs Minister, on Newstalk, trying to justify taking just 600 "traumatised refugees (who) manage to make their way across the Mediterranean this year".

This sad and selfish justification was, by the way, on the back of being consistently told that we are recovering faster than any other European country from a global depression due to wonderful national management by our so-called progressive government.

Historians of the future will undoubtedly research this response in the National Archives with the same disdain that today's scholars do when reading documents from the 1930s.

They will be as equally scathing in their value judgments on a 2015 exclusionist immigration policy as they are of a 1930s one.

And unless we pressure our parochial political class to accept we have legal and humanitarian obligations as EU beneficiaries, then we will continue to behave shamelessly on the international stage. Plus ça change indeed.

Dr Kevin McCarthy

Kinsale, Co Cork


EU can't take in more migrants

Colette Browne is way off on the migrant crisis. She is disingenuous when she says Europe should have no problem taking in hundreds of thousands of migrants.

At the current rate of escalation, and with Europe's leaders signalling open season, in a few years millions of Africans and Arabs will be coming into Europe every year. The consequences for Europe's social cohesion and cultural identity will be disastrous.

It is fallacious to compare what is going on with the Jews and the Holocaust. Jews were integral to European civilization and a vital part of it. These migrants, especially Muslims, have nothing in common with Europe's culture and are bringing with them the baggage of the Middle East.

It is also a myth that these people are genuine refugees. If they were, why not stop in Turkey, which is in a state of peace? They are coming to Europe because of its generous welfare states.

No one is demanding that Saudi Arabia and the UAE take in these people. But both countries are rolling in wealth and could easily absorb fellow Sunni Muslim Arabs.

Dr Frank Giles

Ballsbridge, Dublin 4


Too much focus on the North

Northern Ireland is once again at the top of the agenda for our Government. No less than four government ministers, including the Taoiseach and Tánaiste, are attending to the impasse on welfare reform and lingering paramilitary issues.

Hundreds of hours of talks and negotiating will take place by our Government and civil servants who will be blue in the face by the time it is all over and will probably be back to where they started.

Northern Ireland has been given an enormous amount of attention over many decades. The Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998 - 17 years ago and there are still major problems.

At this stage all one can say is that it is a waste of our Government's valuable time dealing with an intractable situation, despite all the talking and agreements that have led to disagreements.

Power-sharing is not working, for many reasons, and it is time to admit that and not carry on with ridiculous talks and re-negotiations, that will at best, be a temporary stay, which fall apart as soon as there is another crisis. In the meantime, our Republic crumbles from the lack of government.

Maurice Fitzgerald

Shanbally, Co Cork


We could lose all of our gains

Dr Edward Horgan (Letters, Irish Independent, September 1) seems concerned that parties who seek short-term political gain at the expense of Sinn Féin will somehow damage the peace process. But, hasn't Sinn Féin already milked that "process" since the day it was brokered?

There is a much bigger issue at play here. We in the Republic are within a few short months of a general election that could see our country lose all of the gains made in recent years and an already weary population pushed back into penury. And that will depend on the make-up of any new government, when it is formed.

It is understandable that a large swathe of the electorate have become impatient with the slow speed of recovery and many see politicians of every hue as "all in it for themselves". But there is a big difference between slow and reverse. There are some individual TDs and one party out there whose true objectives are, at best, difficult to gauge.

SF has set its sights on achieving power in the Republic and has managed to gain traction in recent times, but it lacks credibility and experience on the economic front.

It seems also to be hopelessly out of touch with the nuances of southern politics.

Even if nothing comes of its latest entanglement with the Provisional IRA, does it have what it takes to oversee the running of a modern and complex economy, even as part of a coalition?

The primary concern of the next government has got to be the stability of our democratic structures and the ability to copper-fasten and strengthen the fragile recovery of recent years.

Those who make promises that this can be achieved through give-away Budgets and ludicrously high taxes on businesses are simply repeating the failed mantra of communist regimes of the blighted early 20th century, which eventually enslaved millions of people throughout world.

There are many people in our country today who would deny that unassailable truth.

Niall Ginty

Killester, Dublin 5


No call for that

Phone calls to Garda stations were recorded for 30 years, but when the highest officers of the State met for four hours to discuss the matter, no record of any kind was made.

How curious.

Dr John Doherty

Gaoth Dobhair, Co Dhún na nGall

Irish Independent

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