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Ireland has the right to send back refugees; UK says no

Dublin: The escalating tensions between the UK and Ireland, stemming from the influx of refugees through Northern Ireland, have reached a critical juncture, with no clear path forward. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s firm stance, alongside opposition leaders, has effectively halted any discussion on the matter, leaving the Irish government uncertain about how to proceed.

Earlier, a scheduled meeting with the UK Home Secretary to address the issue was postponed indefinitely, leaving both sides in limbo regarding the next steps. Amid this uncertainty, the Irish Cabinet has authorised the Department of Justice to draft legislation aimed at repatriating individuals who illegally cross the Northern Ireland border. However, this move has sparked controversy, particularly concerning the absence of a legally binding agreement with Britain.

Despite assertions from the Department of Justice regarding the existence of a November 2020 agreement with the UK Home Office, the details of this pact remain undisclosed. While Prime Minister Simon Harris maintains that the UK government has acknowledged the existence of an operational agreement for the mutual return of asylum seekers, opposition figures, notably Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, express scepticism.

Labour leader Ivana Bacik has called for clarity regarding the bilateral agreement, emphasising concerns over the government’s immigration strategy and the dire conditions in refugee camps, such as those in Mount St. Dublin. Additionally, Bacik condemns the proposed British Rwanda bill, viewing it as a threat to the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement.

In response, Minister Helen McEntee highlights statistics indicating that only a small percentage of refugees arrive through conventional ports and airports, with the majority entering via the International Protection Office. However, discrepancies in these figures raise further questions about the efficacy of current immigration policies and the need for transparent, coherent agreements between the UK and Ireland.

Irish Samachar English News

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