Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Ceisteanna - Questions

International Terrorism

2:05 pm

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Taoiseach for his reply. It is fair to say there is no doubt we are in middle of an age where severe threats are posed by extreme ideologies to all. The greatest victims of these ideologies are the people who belong to and live in the communities for whom groups like ISIS claim to speak. The people of Syria and Iraq are bearing the brunt of ISIS's barbarism. That is the bottom line. That is very evident from the migration patterns.

With respect to the mass shooting in Orlando, President Obama's recent speech is one that should be read by many in this country and further afield and particularly by young people. He has spoken in very measured and reasonable terms and put fundamental values at the core of his message. There is no basis for using the actions of one person to stereotype and victimise others and, equally, we should not fall for the propaganda of groups trying to pretend to have larger networks than they actually do.

Visitors to our country, no matter how senior they are, should be reminded that it is against Irish law to promote fear and hatred of a group based on religion or race and that message should go to the presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Promoting fear and hatred is not something that is in accordance with Irish law, particularly when it is targeted at groups based on their religion or their race.

Does the Taoiseach agree we should reject the idea that terrorism is caused by adverse conditions? To do otherwise would be to belittle the struggles of the countless millions in poverty who do not turn to extremism and it misses the reality that throughout history other dark and generally populist forces are more closely linked to the growth of extremism and terrorism. Undoubtedly, we have to do more to support moderate forces which want to build strong civil society and oppose fundamentalism. One of the reasons I put the question in terms of the European Council and that side of the equation is that there is a lack of more fundamental thought being put into the whole idea of the roots and origins of this form of radicalism, if it could be called that, and terrorism and they need deeper exploration. I was hoping that the European Council, along with all of the immediate measures that are required to deal with the impact of terrorism and so on, would look fundamentally at the neighbourhood countries and the Middle East itself and develop a deeper understanding of the forces at work here to inform future strategy and geopolitical strategy across the globe in terms of what has happened and what is happening.

In many respects, the migration from Syria is because of the conflict there, the appalling war and the appalling approach of Assad to his own people. There is no doubt that if the conflict could be resolved or if a proper framework, in terms of a peace process, could be put in place, it would have a huge impact on that migration story. There have been some horrendous stories emanating from Syria and Iraq of decent ordinary people who have had to flee their land and some of those people have arrived in Ireland by themselves. In one case, a young teenager, who had relatives here, made the long trek here. On the last occasion I spoke on this, I instanced a brilliant article by a Norwegian journalist, entitled The Wetsuitman. For anybody who wants to get a proper understanding of what migration is all about, it is not what Trump, or the scaremongerers, would have us believe. This was the harrowing story of two young people from aspiring families in Syria who wanted to pursue third level education and ended up falsely believing they could swim the English Channel. They purchased swim suits to do that and one ended up off the Norwegian coast and the other one ended up off the Dutch coast. That is the reality of migration and we should take away the ideology and the politics from this. That is what is actually happening and that is what demands a humanitarian response from Europe and societies like our own. We need to start fighting back against some of rhetoric that has been going on, which is only fanning the flames of racism and scaring people unnecessarily. Europe has to stand up for its values. President Obama did the international global community some good by his measured speech yesterday in response to what has been going on.


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