Migrants or refugees?


A chara, – The media today reported on the horrific drowning of 31 “migrants” in the English Channel. I read that most of those who died were Kurds from Iraq. The people in camps in Calais waiting to cross are also from Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan. Given that these are parts of the world torn apart by conflict, why are these people not referred to as refugees?

They are obviously seeking refuge from conflict. Referring to them as migrants allows the UK, France and the rest of the EU (including ourselves) to avoid dealing with this issue humanely and panders to the growing anti-migrant sentiment evident in the Tory benches in Westminster and in certain elements of the UK media.

If there was a legitimate process for them to gain access to the UK and apply for refugee status, then these boat crossings would not be necessary. Equally, France’s appalling treatment of them in the camps is not very welcoming and is pushing them to move on.

France and the UK in particular have been part of the wars in the regions these refugees have left. They must not be allowed to shirk their responsibility for them. – Le meas,


Douglas, Cork.

A chara, – The crisis of illegal migration, and the ensuing deaths, whether on the Mediterranean, at the Polish border or in the English Channel will not be resolved by “greater co-operation” to tackle “people smuggling”. The failure of Europe and other richer nations to face up to their political, financial and environmental responsibilities is sickening.

– Is mise,


Bray, Co Wicklow.