Wednesday, 3 July 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I would like to be associated with the welcome to the family of my colleague and good friend, Senator Lawless, and I acknowledge his enormous work on behalf of the undocumented Irish in America.
This morning The Irish Timescarried a story about a report on the undocumented children living in this country. While it is very laudable to campaign for undocumented people anywhere, there are thousands of undocumented children here who fear going to the authorities in case they will be exposed or forced out of this country. There needs to be a debate on this issue and some amnesty for, and security given to, these children and their families. Some who came in as young children have been here for 16 or 17 years. Many are born here to people who fled war to come to a country that welcomes people of all sectors and diversity, yet somehow we cannot get our heads around the issue of giving legitimate meaning and citizenship to people in our country.
Our country is enriched by diversity. It is very important that we share in that diversity, that we do not have a particular day or week in a year to celebrate some sector of diversity but that we embrace and incorporate that rich diversity through our policies in these Houses and through our life and society. I echo Senator Bacik's comments on this issue. It is very important and defines who we are as a nation, and our principles as a republic. I would like a debate on this when possible which might involve several Departments, including the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs and Foreign Affairs and Trade. If we talk about cherishing all the children of this State equally, we need to address this issue. I commend the people who worked on this very important report.