The Labour leader and TD Alan Kelly recently raised some important questions about the entry of 2,000 Brazilian nationals into Ireland over the past month. They arrived in spite of the Irish Government’s so-called ‘lockdown’ policy that has the Irish public indefinitely quarantined to a 5km radius. Mr Kelly raised the issues in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions to the Taoiseach Micheál Martin, saying:
“In relation to quarantine, what you’re proposing is laughable. 2,000 Brazilians came into this country. Can you tell the public out there, who are limited to within 5km, that it was necessary for 2,000 Brazilians to come into this country to work in low-paid employment? Was that absolutely necessary?“
Taoiseach Micheál Martin replied:
“And I think it’s a bit populist, and I think wrong, in the way you spoke about 2,000 Brazilians coming into the country, like they are… many of those are Irish. Many, what I mean, could be Irish residents, I don’t know the exact 2,000. There’s a Brazilian community in Ireland for quite some time, and I think you should reflect on that. I mean people leave and come back in. But there will be a need to provide mandatory quarantining for those from Brazil, South Africa, and other countries as designated by the public health officers.“
The Taoiseach appears somewhat blindsided by the question, as it is extremely rare for anyone in either house of the Oireachtas to be critical of Ireland’s migration regime, even during a global pandemic. The Taoiseach is unwilling to call Mr Kelly a racist and has to instead resort to calling him a “populist” and “wrong”, as if being a populist was somehow immoral.
The Taoiseach’s description of those Brazilians as Irish seems to suggest that the quality of being Irish is simply a question of whether you have the right piece of residency paper or not. It also reveals the hypocrisy of lockdown policy and its anti-Irish application, in that some “people leave and come back in”, others get fines. For example, the State broadcaster RTÉ is continually lambasting Irish people for emigrating from the most extreme lockdown in Europe, escaping to sunnier and more free destinations. At the same time, RTÉ never seems to question those immigrating here as to whether their journey was essential or not. One rule for Paddy, another rule for José.
Furthermore, Alan Kelly raises the important issue of non-Irish coming into Ireland in order to work low-paid jobs. This is the elephant in the room when it comes to the purpose of Ireland’s mass immigration policy. Big business loves cheap imported labour. Many Brazilians are in Ireland simply because our loose student visa regulations automatically give them the right of entry into our labour market.
This coupled with the fact that Ireland is a place to learn English has given rise to many English-language ‘colleges’, which are in reality just visa factories for foreign workers. In addition, many Brazilians leave their home country to escape high levels of violence, and think of Ireland as a ‘safe’ destination. However recent events have shown that it may not stay that way for long, with organised gun crime now being imported from Brazil, as well as fatal clashes between Brazilian delivery-cyclists and local youths.
In the wider picture, there are also further answers needed as to whether our immigration policy should reflect the availability and price of rental accommodation domestically. Currently, Dublin is probably home to the most horrific rental racket in the world, and not even a global pandemic is alleviating the pressure. In a sane society, an immigration moratorium would run concurrent to a pandemic or in response to a housing crisis.
Left-liberals will moan and complain about not enough social housing being built, but do not stop to think that a country with a sub-replacement fertility rate should naturally be producing cheap vacant properties. Instead we are seeing the re-appearance and proliferation of dingy tenement squats and absentee landlords. The Irish are finding themselves locked out of home ownership, and it is becoming impossible to start a family of one’s own. In response, the Irish Government is to simply outsource reproduction to the third world, with four million more migrants set to arrive over the next 30 years.
In conclusion, there is a desperate need for more politicians to speak out like Mr Kelly has done. Unfortunately, as shown through their history in various coalitions with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, the Labour party is not a vehicle for real change in Ireland. A genuinely populist and nativist party is precisely what is needed, despite whatever Taoiseach Micheál Martin may think of it.