In another example of the liberal-elitism of Leinster House, FG is demanding Pamela Izevbekhai be allowed to remain in Ireland. This woman, who arrived here in 2005 has already failed her asylum-application and predictably, the "Christmas card" is being played to support her case. The European Court of Human Rights has yet to rule on her case, though under Irish law, where the Irish Constitution conflicts with the ECHR, the Constitution has precedence, though the Justice Minister has the power to give failed asylum-seekers leave to remain.
FG are wrong to take this stance on a number of grounds. According to the Sunday Times, immigration-officials believe this woman travelled to the UK on a holiday-visa before entering Ireland. Secondly, any failed asylum-seeker is desperate to remain here and consequently will say anything to be allowed to do so. FG, as with Leinster House generally in such cases, has decided to take her word for it, despite the absence of evidence. In taking this position during a recession, they are also effectively encouraging illegal-immigration as the word will go round that Ireland is a soft touch that won't deport you if you come here illegally. She has claimed that she came to Ireland through Amsterdam. If that is so, then under the Dublin Convention we have a right to return her to that country. It is not the case that we face an either-or situation in terms of returning her to Nigeria or allowing her to remain here - we can return her to a previous EU country of entry, and that or return to Nigeria should be the action undertaken. Furthermore, as the map below shows, most of Africa is outside the geographical areas where FGM is common, meaning she could easily have claimed asylum in one of many other African countries e.g. Morocco. The reality is that 90% of asylum-seekers fail their applications, and yet only 25% of deportation-orders have been enforced (according to the Tribune some months ago). It is obvious, given the absence of direct-flights between Ireland and Nigeria that this woman moved between many EU states before claiming asylum here. Furthermore, recent press coverage has called her story into question, with allegations her husband is living in the UK. Furthermore, this is not the first time FG and Labour have engaged in campaigns to suspend the deportations of bogus asylum-seekers. But surely in these recessionary times the argument for a crackdown on illegal-immigration is all the stronger. The elites in Leinster House need to listen to public opinion for once.FINE GAEL yesterday called on Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern to exercise discretionary powers to allow a Nigerian mother to remain in Ireland on humanitarian grounds, saying it was right and appropriate and in the spirit of this time of year.
Pamela Izevbekhai came to Ireland in early 2005 and has sought leave to remain on the grounds that her two daughters will be forced to undergo genital mutilation if the family is returned to Nigeria.
She has already lost one daughter, Elizabeth, who died in 1994 as a result of the procedure, which Fine Gael yesterday described as barbaric.
Ms Izevbekhai has exhausted all domestic avenues of appeal against the decision of the State to refuse her refugee status. She says her two daughters, Naomi (7) and Jemima (6), will be forced by her husband’s relations to undergo the procedure, if the State goes ahead with the deportation process.
In response to her circumstances, Fine Gael yesterday invited Ms Izevbekhai to Leinster House where it convened an all-party meeting to allow TDs and Senators hear her story. The family has been living in Sligo where the children attend a local primary school.
The meeting was arranged by the party’s spokesman on children Alan Shatter and its spokesman on immigration Denis Naughten. The Sligo TD John Perry was also involved.
Speaking outside Leinster House, Mr Shatter said that her case was an exceptional one given that she has already lost a daughter because of genital mutilation.
He said at this time of year the Minister for Justice should consider applying basic humanitarian principles to her request to stay, rather than depending on the legal technicalities or on the outcome of an application made to the European Court in Strasbourg. “There is a basic humanitarian story. In the context of her special circumstances, she has a special case. I think that deserves recognition,” he said
Originally Posted by Sunday Times
After nearly 6 months in office, Dermot Ahern's record on asylum is a mixed one. On the one hand, he has correctly pushed ahead with the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008 which would introduce summary-deportations, including deportations during judicial-reviews where the judge has not granted injunctions blocking the deportations. On the other hand, as of June only 43 people (according to the Sunday Tribune) had been deported this year under his predecessor, and in the discussions on the Bill at Committee stage, he has stated that under the legislation, an asylum-seeker who claims to have been trafficked into Ireland will be eligible for a temporary visa to remain in Ireland provided they cooperate with the Gardai in the prosecution of the traffickers. Obviously, the danger of such and approach is that illegal-immigrants will claim to have been trafficked in order to avoid deportation from this country - a risk acknowledged by Ahern in the committee deliberations. In that context I hope that Ahern review these provisions as they risk constituting the latest in a long series of loopholes exploited by bogus asylum-seekers in order to gain permission to remain in Ireland. And to those of us who might have considered voting Labour in the next GE, the fact that Pat Rabbitte called for the temporary-visa provisions to apply even to people who claim to have been trafficked into Ireland who refuse to cooperate in prosecutions of traffickers, is a wake-up call as to Labour's underlying liberal agenda in this area - something the country cannot afford in recessionary times. Make you feelings known to FG politicians like Alan Shatter etc.