An independent Irish lawmaker has called for a referendum on immigration after recent polling revealed 75 percent of Irish people think the country is taking in too many refugees.
Speaking to Irish media outlet, Gript, Mattie McGrath TD believes the public concern on the issue is too great to ignore.
“The government must consult the people, I say by way of a referendum,” McGrath, who sits as an independent in the Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament, told the site.
“We want a proper open debate on this. We want an unhindered, unfettered media and we don’t want hate speech to be dangled in front of us when we talk about issues that are affecting our families, our grandchildren, and our generations to come,” he added.
Polling conducted by Red C for The Business Post last month revealed three in four Irish citizens think “the number of refugees Ireland is taking in is now too many.” Just 19 percent disagreed with the statement.
Supporters of the mainstream political parties, including 74 percent of Fianna Fáil voters and 70 percent of Fine Gael voters were in agreement with the statement. These are the two largest parties in the Irish coalition government, which has overseen the largest influx of immigration into the country on record.
Meanwhile, 76 percent of respondents said they appreciate the public anger currently felt about asylum seekers being moved into local communities at rapid pace.
“I’m not surprised,” McGrath said commenting on the poll.
The Irish have no option left but to protest against an asylum crisis of their government’s own making
Mass protests against record levels of asylum seekers have rocked the historically immigrant-friendly nation, but the government is planning for more of the same this year
“This is total open borders. We have 12,000 homeless ourselves. And the money we are spending on this situation is unbelievable.
“Under the surface, people are being silenced. Cancel culture. The national media is just disgraceful, they’ve all bought into this disastrous policy of flooding our country, changing our culture, and not having space or room, and not looking after properly the genuine refugees taken in.”
The Irish lawmaker cited Dr. Mary Ryan, a leading consultant endocrinologist who has previously raised concerns about the chaotic policy currently being implemented by the Irish government. Dr. Ryan said last week that many Irish citizens, including the elderly, were being forgotten about and need greater care.
“Our elderly – I feel very strongly about the fact that we are not looking after out elderly very well. We forget that the people who are now in their 80s and 90s worked in England the majority sent back money to rear the young kids at home, we are not looking after them properly. All of these needs need to be addressed.”
84% of failed asylum seekers in Ireland not deported, status is unknown
Of the 4,631 deportation orders issued in the last five years, just 314 were enforced by the Irish state
She accused Ireland’s leader Leo Varadkar of “not listening to people.”
“Yes, we want to help out but at the same time we don’t want 12,000 homeless. That has to be looked after, and there is extra pressure on society, there needs to be a proper strategy. Are you going to get more doctors, teachers, nurses? This is a democracy.”
A total of 84,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland since the outbreak of the war in their home country, while another 15,000 asylum seekers new asylum applications from other nations were recorded in 2022 alone, according to The Business Post.
The number of asylum applications was more than six times higher than the previous year, while immigration into Ireland also hit a 15-year high in 2022.
And those individuals who are refused asylum are not leaving the country. Data provided to NewsTalk following a Freedom of Information request showed that of the 4,631 deportation orders issued to failed asylum seekers between 2018 and 2022, the Office of the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) enforced just 314 orders, or 7 percent, while the Department of Justice provided assistance in 430 other cases (9 percent) for people who voluntarily left Irish territory. The rest remain in the country.
The social tension brought about by the influx of mass immigration has been palpable and residents across Ireland have turned out to protest the effect the new arrivals are having on the public services in their local communities.
In an op-ed for Remix News in February, Hermann Kelly, the founder and president of the Irish Freedom Party, wrote:
We were not put on Earth to provide free housing, healthcare, and education to the rest of the world. Ireland is more than a wet rock in the middle of the Atlantic, full of rootless, nation-less consumers and producers. No. Ireland is our home, not an economic hostel. We are Irish, we are a people and a nation, bound by history and culture, by faith and by family to this land. We are a nation, not a colony, and we will not allow a second plantation of Ireland to take place.