Libertas accused of being 'fascist' over migrant plan


IMMIGRATION ROW:LIBERTAS HAS been accused of being “fascist” and of playing the “immigration card” with its plans to impose a two-year limit on migration into Ireland from other European states and a ban on immigrants claiming benefits here.

The party’s Dublin candidate, Caroline Simons, said yesterday that the immigration issue was the “elephant in the room” in the European election campaign.

She said that Libertas was calling for the adoption of a “blue card” throughout the European Union that would allow a citizen of the EU to live in another member state for up to two years as a guest worker as long as they were not a burden on the receiving state.

“This would mean that guest workers from EU member states would no longer be entitled to dole, rent subsidy, or any other state handout. Health and other social benefits would remain a matter for the member state from which the citizen originated,” she said. She said that migrants who require access to schools or other essential social services could apply for them on the same basis as now. If an immigrant lost their job, they would no longer be entitled to remain in the State once the blue card expired. Those in employment could apply for a new blue card after two years.

Describing the approach as one of “common sense”, she said Libertas believed in regulated economic migration in the 27 member states. However, she said the burden placed on Ireland and other EU states was unfair.

She claimed 29,000 new PPS numbers had been issued in Ireland this year to EU nationals when there were 400,000 unemployed people in Ireland.

“The Libertas plan would ensure that these people would come here only to work, study, or explore Ireland. We must reduce the burden to Ireland of caring for inhabitants of other member states and this plan is an equitable and fair way of doing it,” she said.

Her comments followed similar comments on Thursday by Libertas East candidate Raymond O’Malley, who said the time had come to stop the tide of workers coming from accession states.

In relation to asylum seekers from outside the EU, she said that if the Dublin Convention was enforced, Ireland would have fewer asylum seekers. Under the convention, an asylum seeker must be processed in the first State at which they arrive. She said there “was no direct flight from Lagos to Dublin”.

Labour’s Dublin MEP Proinsias de Rossa said he expected nothing else from Libertas which he accused of being a “fascist party”. He said: “They are aligned with all the far-right parties across Europe. It is divisive politics that these parties are involved in. If this system was implemented, tens of thousands of Irish people living and working across the EU would have to be sent home.

Fianna Fáil’s candidate in East Thomas Byrne said the policy was ludicrous. “Immigration is a complex issue and to reduce it to an electoral soundbite is dangerous,” he told Today FM.