- 19 Jul 22
"Ireland cannot be preaching about human rights in the global arena while shutting its borders to people who seek safety," MASI said in a statement.
Visa-free travel to Ireland from other EU nations is no longer a possibility for refugees. As of today (July 19th), people with refugee status in other European nations can only travel to the country if they have a visa. These countries include the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.
The new policy will not will not apply to Ukrainians who have come to Ireland or other European nations following Russia’s invasion in February.
The Cabinet met on Monday to address the rising concern over the quantity of refugee numbers and lack of accommodation for new arrivals. Their decision resulted in the suspension of a Council of Europe agreement for the next 12 months. The move will be reevaluated in one year.
Following this decision, there is already dismay and concern about how the country is choosing to proceed in regard to refugees. The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) released a Statement on Visa Requirements for Refugees yesterday:
"The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) is disturbed by the imposition of Visa requirements for refugees. MASI is concerned that refugees may be stuck in countries that have been found undermining the European Convention on Human Rights. There is rich jurisprudence in European courts on asylum seekers being ill treated in countries like Greece for instance. And those asylum seekers or refugees who find themselves in such situations should be allowed to seek protection elsewhere.
"There are many legitimate reasons for why people leave a European Union country to seek asylum in another," MASI added. "The imposition of visa requirements for refugees makes it difficult for people to do that. Ireland cannot be preaching about human rights in the global arena while shutting its borders to people who seek safety."
Also, we're sleepy and exhausted. Hold all calls. pic.twitter.com/1aLEvv9Q3U
— MASI - Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (@masi_asylum) July 18, 2022
The chief executive of migrant rights group Doras, John Lannon, decried the Irish government decision as weak.
“The Government started the Ukrainian crisis well but subsequently failed to put a plan in place. Now it is a crisis situation and the Government reacts by punishing another group of people for its own lack of foresight."
Lanon points out that the "Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said ‘you don’t turn people away’ on Sunday, yet this Government is doing exactly that a day later. It’s worrying and quite unsavoury."
Despite these powerful arguments against the new policy, the Justice Minister Helen McEntee claims the decision was “not taken lightly”. The government stands by the choice as necessary to prevent further 'abuse' of the system.
In the 12 months between January 2021 and 2022, 760 refugees coming to Ireland had already been granted protection in another EU country. The government cites this as an emerging pattern that requires immediate attention in the form of the new visa requirements.
This coming Wednesday eve in Dublin, spread the word. https://t.co/SehpIl8vFZ
— Doras (@DorasIRL) July 18, 2022
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