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8 July 1999 Edition

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Cattle would get more consideration

The Irish government's Immigration Bill, which is designed to facilitate the deporation of asylum seekers, was passed last week. Despite widespread opposition the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform John O'Donoghue pushed through the bill, which will see asylum seekers being put on boats and planes in the weeks and months ahead.

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín O Caoláin opposed the Bill. Speaking in support of an amendment which would have given all asylum seekers the right to work, Caoimhghín O Caoláin said:

``This reasonable amendment would ease the financial and social burden on asylum seekers. It would allow many, including highly qualified and diligent people who can contribute to the economy, to come off social welfare.

``I deplore the manner in which the Government has dealt with the issue of asylum and particularly the right to work. It is running scared of the wider issue of immigration which is not properly legislated for at present. This legislation, which should be called the Deportation Bill, is the latest manifestation of the uncaring attitude to asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants clearly in the ascendancy on the government benches. If the bill concerned the import and export of cattle, it would have received more consideration from the government and would have received more time to be properly and thoroughly debated in the House.''
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