Tuesday, 23 January 2018
Reception Conditions Directive: Motion
The first thing I would say to the Minister is that I do not blame him one iota for this situation. He inherited the situation in which he finds himself. I am horrified at the way these people have had to live over many years but I certainly do not lay the blame for that at the Minister's door. I would not do that but I would say there is no point in looking backwards. We have to look forward and be positive. I am terribly sorry for the way these people have had to live. I have dealt with them for many years in Killarney town and I always thought it was horrible to have healthy, fit, fresh people who wanted to work, to be part of our communities and to make a few euro for themselves but, unfortunately, our rules prohibited them from doing so. My late father was always horrified at the idea of fine, fresh people being told that they can stay in their rooms, they will be given a few euro but they cannot go to work, despite the fact that there was plenty of work available for them. That was alien to everything we stand for because all we want is for people to be able to go out in the morning to do some work and get a bit of money for it, and more power to them.
Any way we can work together to improve this situation and to right the wrong that existed in the past is what this is all about. I agree with my colleagues here who said that this measure does not go far enough, and I respect the way the Minister is putting the case forward on which he is 100% right, but we will have to try to improve it gradually to ensure that in terms of the fine, respectable people who come here for whatever reason, and I will not go into that, we welcome them, try to allow them be part of our society, get work to earn money and live the same as every one of us want to live. We are here for a very short time, not a long time, and the idea of people being inside a room and not allowed to work is awful.