Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Seán Crowe (Dublin South West, Sinn Fein)
I welcome the fact that the Taoiseach raised the issue of the undocumented Irish. During his discussions with various groups, did he get any sense that conditions were getting worse and the fear of the knock on the door in the middle of the night, followed by arrest and deportation, was growing? I am worried that the pathway that has been put in place to allow some people to obtain E3 visas does not assist tens of thousands of people who are living in the shadows. Many are not covered. While I am pleased that the Taoiseach raised the issue, is it possible for the Government to take a leading role in resolving it? The Taoiseach referred to bilateral agreements, etc. Surely measures could be taken to allow a more flexible approach to be taken to American visitors who come on holidays to this country. That would send a signal back to the United States in this respect. The fear I mentioned is growing in Irish communities in the United States. I remind the Taoiseach that at one stage an all-party group was working on this issue in the Dáil. If such a group were to be initiated again, perhaps by the Whips, does the Taoiseach think it would be helpful on this issue?