People are ‘afraid of being called racist’ for raising concerns about immigration, Michael Fitzmaurice TD has claimed.
On Tuesday, independent TD Carol Nolan told the Dáil that she was “deeply concerned” about the State’s policy on asylum seekers and that the current system is “not sustainable”.
She also claimed that a colleague in the Seanad had been “shouted down” for raising the issue.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Deputy Fitzmaurice said he agreed with his colleague that the issue had become a “no go area for the likes of politicians” but that his constituents were raising the issue.
“On the ground, there is starting to be a resentment of some of the things that’s going on without being debated,” he claimed.
“The problem is - and everyone is afraid of it - is that you’ll hear people advise people, ‘Be careful of that or you’ll be banged into a corner being called or all these sorts of words like racist.’”
Concerns about the rate of immigration were raised last month when Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe called for a cap on the number of Ukrainians arriving in Ireland and People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy said the issue is often discussed.
“Here we are, on the national radio [discussing it],” he said.
“Not a day goes by in the Dáil, in the national Parliament, where the likes of Carol Nolan or Mattie McGrath aren’t saying, ‘We need to have a debate about migration’ - but they’re in the Dáil having a debate about migration.
“I think in reality, this argument that it’s a no go area is just a screen to avoid having the actual debate.”
Deputy Murphy added that immigration is not to blame for Ireland’s problems.
“Refugees, asylum seekers are not responsible for the crises that we have in this country," he said.
"They’re not responsible for the housing crisis.
“We had a housing crisis before the Ukraine war started.”
Preliminary results from Census 2021 found that Ireland’s population is at the highest level since the Great Famine, with more than 5 million people living in the Republic.
Main image: Entrance to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. Picture by: Alamy.com