'Ireland is being repopulated and it doesn't seem to matter to the powers that be who is coming' - Kevin Sharkey calls for 'open dialogue' on immigration
Prospective Presidential candidate Kevin Sharkey has called for an honest, open dialogue on immigration as he outlined some of his views on the subject in a television interview.
In an appearance on The Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ last night the Donegal man said that he felt people were censoring themselves when it comes to the subject of immigration.
Sharkey, an artist and former television presenter, who confirmed that he was hoping to receive a nomination to run for the presidency later this year, spoke at length about the impact of immigration.
When Mr D'Arcy put it Mr Sharkey that his stance was somewhat ironic considering his own background, Mr Sharkey replied: "My father was an immigrant, there are a lot of positive aspects to immigration but it is going to end up coming down to one thing and that is numbers.
"We are not a big country and in 20 years time, at the rate we are going, we have places in Ireland now where there are people who are feeling they no longer have a choice, no longer have a say.
"I'm not against immigration. Look at Australia, they have a beautiful system there, If you are contributing, if you have a trade that we need and you can support yourself you are welcome.
"We should have an honest open dialogue about it without being shut down and called racist.
"We have a history of being generous and kind, we have a history of helping people and sometimes word gets out. It would be lovely to think that everyone contributes but I think we have shifted over to this grey area of we are Europeans now, we are not Irish and to say that you are proud to be Irish is now seen almost as... some people would call you racist. It's crazy."
When asked by Mr D'Arcy what he hoped to do in the role of President, Mr Sharkey said: "I'd hope to bring an awareness to the fact that in Ireland we seem to have shifted away a little bit from looking after the Irish first.
"I think it is great that we give so many people a great life in Ireland but we can't give everyone a great life."
Mr Sharkey went on to say that he believed that the priorities in Ireland had to change.
"I've seen the effect of the good and the bad sides of immigration, you know, how it helps a country to grow and develop. And also how sometimes it puts a strain on the resources. We are a very small country and I have spent a long time wondering at what point do we say 'we need to start looking after Irish people as a priority'.
"People talk about the housing crisis in Ireland. I don't think it is so much of a housing crisis, I think it is a priority crisis.
"The armed forces are underfunded, the hospitals, the housing situation... it is very difficult to explain to people why you are not in a priority position if you are Irish. Why we are seen, more and more, as a go-to destination."
He also said the UK could be viewed as an example of what can happen with mass immigration. to
"It's great when people come to Ireland and contribute and respect our culture but I think when you go to other places like the UK you start to see that without proper integration the idea of multiculturalism can end up in ghettos.
"It matters to me very much that in 200 years, Ireland is still Ireland. I think they way we are at the moment I worry that that is not going to be the case.
Mr Sharkey, who also questioned our level of foreign aid, claimed Ireland had "fallen into this politically correct speech and people are censoring themselves when they really should be able to have an honest dialogue."
And when asked if Ireland could look after it's older people and help those who come to this country, Mr Sharkey said: "Can we not do both? I would love to think we could do both but I don't see that happening. I see this shift towards the European experiment, taking orders from unelected officials in Brussels.
"What I have concluded is what is really going on is Ireland is being repopulated and it doesn't seem to matter to the powers that be who is coming. They are not going to end up in Dublin 4.
"If we don't protect our future, if we don't protect what we have, what has made us Irish, we won't be Irish in 200 years."
Mr Sharkey added that he decided to run for the Presidency as he "thought it was time to do something for Ireland".