Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Ceisteanna - Questions (Resumed)
Taoiseach's Meetings and Engagements
The Taoiseach said that he spoke to Jean-Claude Juncker and used the phrase, "strengthening the external borders of the EU", which has been used regularly at recent meetings. I want to interrogate what he is talking about and what it means. I will put it bluntly and dramatically, and also accurately. European leaders, including the Taoiseach, unfortunately, are sleep-walking back into the nightmare years of the 1930s, with the rise of the far-right and dangerous, racist political forces. The Taoiseach was criticised over the weekend for what was described as a legitimising and normalising of the racist policies of the far-right Hungarian leader, Viktor Orbán, by the Helsinki committee on human rights, for his evasive and weak responses, and for legitimising the quite shocking calls by Mr. Orbán to put Hungarians first at the expense of refugees. This sort of policy has led to the deaths of 35,000 people in the Mediterranean Sea and is leading to absolute horrors in places such as Libya, where people are experiencing slave-like conditions. Is the Taoiseach worried about the rise of these far-right forces? Have he and Mr. Juncker begun to question whether giving credence to the far right argument that asylum seekers are somehow a problem legitimises those forces and encourages them? We should face them down in the strongest terms, and point out that asylum seekers and migrants are not a burden on Europe. In Ireland we now have labour shortages. We cannot build enough houses because we have labour shortages. We should resolutely resist the racist, xenophobic, anti-migrant logic being pursued by Mr. Orbán, who is a colleague of the Taoiseach in the European People's Party, EPP.