Green Party election manifesto aims for ‘humane, fair and effective’ migration policy

Manifesto commits party to defending Green Deal and principles of a democratic EU and to keep the extreme right from ‘any position of influence’

“We can’t leave people to drown in the Mediterranean, we can’t put children into concrete holding pens at our borders and we have to increase our development aid as a European Union,” Green Party MEP Ciarán Cuffe has said.

Speaking on Friday at the launch of the party’s manifesto in advance of next month’s European elections, Mr Cuffe said tackling these three issues would help address the migration crisis at a European level.

The Green Party’s manifesto for the 2024 European elections says it stands for “a humane, fair and effective migration and international protection policy that is human rights based, efficient and workable”.

Asked to elaborate on the policy, MEP candidate and senator Pauline O’Reilly said the party favours a system of migration “where people can join family members”.


“We have a skills shortage and migrants have a huge amount to contribute to society. I think every Irish person recognises that,” she said.

Ms O’Reilly said the migration issue was not coming up regularly on the doors. “But that doesn’t mean it isn’t an issue we absolutely have to deal with. There are some candidates saying that’s it, it’s done, the pact’s been signed. On the asylum piece that’s true, but on the migration piece it’s not,” she said.

Ms O’Reilly was referring to the Government’s decision to opt in to measures in the EU’s Asylum and Migration Pact. This will result in changes to how those seeking asylum are processed, including a greater focus on efficient returns for unsuccessful applicants and accelerated processing for those from safe countries or those with no documents or false papers.

“Without a doubt everyone agrees we need to invest more, continue to build more and be able to provide services for people coming into the country but also for all people here dealing with the cost of living,” MEP Grace O’Sullivan said.

The public mood on immigration and asylum seekers has hardened as the local and European elections approach, the latest Irish Times/Ipsos B&A opinion poll suggests.

While a clear majority of voters who express a view say immigration in general has been a positive for Ireland, voters also favour a more closed asylum policy and greater efforts by the Government to deport asylum seekers whose applications have failed.

Speaking on Ireland’s recognition of the State of Palestine, alongside Norway and Spain earlier this week, Ms O’Sullivan said this was “really important” after what she felt was “a hands-off approach” in the EU since she entered the European Parliament in 2019.

The party’s 2024 manifesto listed “investigating breaches of the EU Israel Association Agreement and insisting on suspension under its terms until the current conflict is resolved peacefully” as one of its priorities.

“With Ireland, Norway and Spain behind [recognition] now, I think once and for all we can start to put pressure on Israel to change their course of action,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

Speaking about the European Parliament, Ms O’Sullivan said members were “basically out on the edge” if they were not part of “a strong group with strong vision and policies”.

“That’s something I can’t emphasise enough in terms of the strengths of the Greens,” she said.

Among the policies in its 2024 manifesto is a commitment to defend the Green Deal, the principles of a democratic EU and to keep the extreme right from “any position of influence”.

It also promises to fight for the passage and implementation of the Nature Restoration Law.

Senator O’Reilly said this was “the number one topic” in debates in the Midlands-North-West constituency. “We have to get it back on the table,” she said.

The party’s manifesto says it aims to “push for a Green and social transition fund” to finance “green infrastructure projects, public transport, renewables and energy grid connections”. It also wants to reform the EU budgetary and euro-zone stability pact systems to ensure they “never again impose austerity and instead protect public spending in economic downturns”.

It also hopes to expand the DiscoverEU travel initiative by offering free interrail tickets to all 18-year-olds on an annual basis.

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times