Ireland is to require refugees travelling to the State from “safe” European countries to hold visas, citing “abuse” of the system.

In a statement, the Government - which signed off on the move following an incorporeal Cabinet meeting on Monday - said it had been agreed to “protect the integrity” of the immigration system.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said the decision was not “taken lightly” but that where there is evidence that there may be abuse of such systems, “the Government must act swiftly to mitigate the risks”.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the decision will “assist in the protection of Ukrainians, and those of other nationalities who are fleeing conflict, as it will lessen the incidence of abuse of this system.

The problem is not our attitude to immigration. The problem is our attitude to debate.

In a democracy, open debate is essential. It is not anti migrant to try and work out, in a national conversation, how many people we can reasonably help.

“Far right” is a meaningless phrase. It is not just applied, for example, to people who detest Jews or who hold genuinely racist views. It simply is a catch-all term to apply to those who ask questions which people do not feel comfortable answering. It is applied to those who question gender ideology, and the idea that women can become men, and vice versa, simply by filling out a form. It is applied to those who question the wisdom of the country’s increasingly hysterical and unrealistic crusade on climate change. It is applied to those who questioned covid lockdowns. Now it is being applied to those who simply note that Ireland is inviting in many more migrants than it can ever hope to house.

In fact, over the past couple of years, the so-called “far right” view has been proven correct far more often than it has been proven wrong.

In Ireland we do not have open debate. Often, we do not even have the pretence of it. And that’s how Government ends up in the position it has ended up in this week: Pulling up the drawbridge on poor migrants, and accusing them of abusing the system.

But it’s not hate speech if they do it, is it?


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