A three day hunger strike of residents at the Cahirsiveen Direct Provision centre ended with Minister for Justice Helen McEntee promising that they would all be re-located, beginning this week. She has promised them “permanent accommodation” which seems a bit previous given that none of them have been granted a permanent right to stay in the State.

Is this a way of speeding up the promised end to Direct Provision contained in the briefing note explaining the Programme for Government? And where will those currently waiting for a decision go? It is a lot more complex an issue than the Greens made out, but then what isn’t?

A statement from the Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland was happy with the commitment made but complained about the lack of interim measures to “address the core issues in Direct Provision such as the poverty asylum-seeking children are forced to endure.”

Well, when you arrive unannounced in any country you may expect some small degree of discomfort until you are adjudged to be legitimately entitled to stay. Which means that your country of origin must be recognised as unsafe. Pretending to be fleeing oppression while actually seeking a higher standard of living is not a legitimate reason. There are after all ways in which non EU nationals can apply to work here.

There is also the fact that a large proportion of “asylum seekers” are no such thing. Of those who initially applied in 2019, 48% were rejected. Given that over 60% of applicants were from countries deemed to be safe there is clearly a lack of stringency in these matters.

One example of this are the 1,611 people who arrived here from Albania and Georgia, neither of whose citizens are entitled to claim asylum. Presumably the vast majority were turned down and yet only 23 were deported. The reason for this is the absurd gravy train that is engineered through the appeals system by lawyers who make a fortune out of the charade. Backed of course by well funded NGOs who would probably have mustered a case for Dr. Mengele had he managed to get here.

Ciara Smyth of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at University College Galway wrote a piece for the Irish Times earlier this year arguing against the deportation of bogus asylum seekers such as those from Albania and Georgia as a breach of their rights. She cited the “non-befoulement” provisions of international law; which supports “the right not to be sent to a country where there is a real risk of irreparable harm. (Irish Times, March 2, 2020.) Even, it would seem, when no such risk is deemed to be present.

It is difficult to get figures on the cost of the appeals but on the basis that High High Court reviews alone accounted for €12 million in 2009 (Irish Independent, December 30, 2009) we are talking of a figure well over €250 million since 2000. The overall cost of the asylum system, again based on one year, 2014 when it was over €150 million, is certainly a good piece north of €2 billion during the same period (Department of Justice, 2014.)

There is no doubting that genuine asylum seekers from some African countries have had a difficult time, and are deserving of sanctuary. Very few of them reach Ireland. In large part because they apply for asylum in the first safe country they land up in. They don’t travel half the world first. 386 people from Zimbabwe applied for asylum here in 2019 despite a 2017 UNHCR ruling that it is a safe country of return. Other African states like Botswana deport them straight away.

Of course, the rights of the rural communities to have a say regarding the location of Direct Provision centres catering for numbers disproportionate to the existing population and local services are dismissed as irrelevant. And if they get too outspoken they suddenly find they are the unwitting members of the “alt right” and will have rent a crowd lefties descend upon them to teach them the error of their ways.

Communities have legitimate concerns and they are at least as deserving of a hearing as the rights of real or imaginary asylum seekers or their self-appointed state funded advocates. The case of Emmanuel Adeniji who raped an elderly woman in a care home reinforces those concerns. He came here illegally and was only granted citizenship several years later on the basis of the ludicrous provision that was in place prior to being overturned by an overwhelming majority in the 2004 referendum.

Bogus asylum seekers and illegal immigrants do genuine asylum seekers and migrants a disservice. Even the Irish Times published testimony to that effect from a Nigerian living here in 2000. You can be full sure that it would not get past the censor in these times.