Taoiseach urged to "practice what he preaches" on undocumented migrants

There are an estimated 26,000 undocumented migrants living in Ireland – many of whom have been here for years

Sinn Féin's spokesperson on housing has called on the Taoiseach to “practice what he preaches” and introduce immigration reform for thousands of undocumented migrants in Ireland.

During his trip to the United States last week, Enda Kenny called on Donald Trump to work towards regularising the status of undocumented Irish people in the US saying, “all they want is the opportunity to be free.”

In the Dáil today, Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin called on the Taoiseach to bring forward legislation that can provide undocumented migrants in Ireland with the same opportunity.

He said Sinn Féin fully supports the Taoiseach’s efforts in America.

“However, the Taoiseach’s case would have been a lot stronger if he practiced what he preached at home,” he said.

“There are an estimated 26,000 undocumented migrants living in this state. Many have been here for years, have children and are working.

“The Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland Justice for the Undocumented campaign has called on the Government to introduce a scheme that would allow migrants the chance to come forward and regularise their situation.”

Campaigners have warned that many undocumented migrants have been living in Ireland for longer than 15 years and said action for the undocumented here would “speak louder than a bowl of shamrock in Washington.”

In the Dáil Mr Kenny said Deputy David Stanton, the Minister of State at the Department of Justice has had a number of meetings with campaigners.

“I am aware there are approximately 26,500 undocumented people and some of them have had a great number of challenges in their lives,” he said. “The Minister of State will advise me in due course about how best to proceed.”

While Deputy Ó Broin welcomed the Taoiseach’s response he called on the government to “adopt the same urgency here that they have asked of the current US administration.”

“What’s good for undocumented Irish migrants in the US is surely good enough for undocumented migrants here in Ireland,” he said.