Friday, 18 December 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I know you do not mean that, a Chathaoirligh.
On a positive note, Senator Currie spoke about the importance of the parties in the North working together. Last night, proof of that co-operation was evident in the announcement that in the North, schools will be supplied with period products free of charge from next year. I again call on the programme for Government commitment to provide free period products to women and girls to be implemented as soon as possible.
I wish to raise a very sad and annoying issue. Despite the assurances the Minister for Justice, Deputy McEntee, gave the House and despite assurances by the Taoiseach on 9 December that deportations would not happen during the pandemic, the evidence shows that deportations are being sped up this week and a number of people have been deported. In the week leading up to Christmas, they will not have access to the courts and, worse, from 30 December those being deported to Britain will lose access to their EU rights. They will lose their rights under the Common European Asylum System, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. Everybody would agree that deporting people during a pandemic is particularly cold and callous, but especially in the week leading up to Christmas when we had been given assurances that it would not happen. I ask the Leader to take that message back and to reiterate what this House endorsed, which was that deportations would not happen.