Monday, April 21, 2008

Immigration Bill

So Brian Lenihan is to make 200 changes to his own bill.

Now, I'm no expert but surely this bill went through the Oireachtas committees before publication? And was probably chopped and changed by parliamentary draftsmen plenty of times too.

Michael D Higgins and others have been absolutely apoplectic over it since it was published, and human rights groups all over the place have been scathing about it.

Among other things, it requires non-EEA residents to seek the Minister's permission to marry (how very 1500 - does he want his droit de seigneur too?), sanctions lawyers who take 'vexatious' cases (who defines vexatious?), and is very restrictive on family reunification, which is one of the main problems with the current system. The appeals process would be greatly restricted, too.

UNRWA has even identified problems with it - and our own Mary Robinson a former President. Come on.

Normally I quite like Brian Lenihan - he seems sensible and he seems to know what he's talking about, as well as having a nice gravitas that's often lacking in our elected reps. But was he watching the ball at all on this one?

If he's Minister for Justice, bringing in bills like this, and his brother (of the infamous Kebab joke) is Minister for, of all things, Integration, you really have to wonder about the direction of things.

McDowell may be gone but his ghost lives on.


  1. He said he was going to accept amendments and it is a first stage bill so it was always going to be heavily amended.

    It is at present at Committee Stage so more changes are due.

    The fact that changes are happening is a good thing. It means the system works.

  2. Eh I think they are his own in he didn't research/consult enough and now he is having to do these things publically. A lot of the amendments are in response to fundamental Human Rights concerns and out ability to attract skilled immigrants into our country.

    If he'd actually accept comments form the oppositiont hat'd be a fine thing...don't hold your breath!!

  3. Ah Davy,

    Amendments don't come out of thin area adn of course he listened to others.

    The Committee dealing with the bill will be relasing its report shortly and that will include opposition partys views and suggestions.

    The big problem I see is the way we bring people over but don't allow a clear way at present from them to bring over their partners/family.

  4. Just saw this letter today in Irish Times:

    Madam, - The banner headline "Immigration Bill to have 200 amendments" (The Irish Times, May 16th) appears to be based on an announcement by Minister of State Conor Lenihan. This is news to those of us actually prosecuting the Bill and, I suspect, will be news to the Department of Justice.

    There are indeed several amendments of no consequence (technical and drafting) in the name of the Justice Minister. However, one can count on the fingers of one hand the number of meaningful amendments accepted or initiated by Minister Lenihan Senior. Truly a house divided. - Yours, etc,

    PAT RABBITTE TD, Labour Party Spokesperson on Justice, Dáil Éireann, Dublin 2.