Yesterday, the Dáil approved the state opting into the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) for 2021-2027. This is supposed to provide finance for the integration of people arriving into Europe from outside of the member states.
The previous 2014 – 2020 AMIF had a budget of over €3.1 billion. This one is over three times as much. The appropriately titled Funds for NGOs let the relevant people know the deadlines for applications for parts of the millions available to them under the 2014 – 2020 fund. The main criteria were that the groups looking for the cash could justify it within a “broad range of activities” connected to integration and so on.
As Gript reported last week, it is not clear how much of the €9.9 billion for the new fund – nor indeed how much of the previous one – came from the Irish taxpayer. It is this money which is recycled back to the NGOs, and it would be a reasonable assumption that the Irish taxpayer contributed a good deal more to the AMIF than the amounts that were channelled back to NGOs who are already existing on our tab. NGOs in other states also get to have some of our money. Isn’t international solidarity the bee’s knees?
It would seem then to be not dissimilar to the Covid Recovery Fund from which we receive back a pittance of what we give. The only figure that Minister Roderic O’Gorman referred to when selling us this latest bill of goods was that the state was provided with €2.56 million from the AMIF “technical assistance fund.” What’s that I wonder? Teaching public servants how to more efficiently ensure that the NGOs get their money faster maybe?
It really is such a bind. Could we not just give it all to them in one lump rather than all this feckin’ round the houses? Or better still make us all set up a direct debit so that when you check your account you will see “NGO support fund” alongside your mortgage, rent, gas and electricity and so on. Maybe they could even put a little smiley emoticon beside it to make you feel that you are part of all the joy you are helping to bring into the world.
The contributions to what passed as a debate were predictable enough. O’Gorman listed off all the things they are doing to ensure that pretty much anyone who arrives here is given enough free stuff so that they are never tempted to leave us again.
Martin Kenny boasted about how Sinn Féin MEPs had been among the rest who are fighting to ensure that the EU does not “pull up the drawbridge.” The implication of this being, one presumes, that there are no actual controls on how many people arrive into the EU from anywhere.
He seems to be opposed to even minimal levels of levels of checks as he attacked the EURODAC proposal to extend the fingerprinting of migrants to those aged 6 and over as an “obscenity.” Even though he did admit that this was proposed as a means to prevent and detect child trafficking, which is an actual obscenity rather than a subjective one. Feelings not facts as every post-modernist empty bucket knows.
Anyway, the Shinners have the seeds for the Magic Money Tree needed to ensure that when the current domestic demand for housing is driven up by the tens of thousands of extra dwellings required because of immigration, everyone will still get a house. Strange that in all their time running the north, and over five years as the largest party on Dublin City Council, they never got around to reducing those housing lists.
Kenny left us with the wise words that “Integration programmes will not work if housing or healthcare policy is not working.” Well, likewise, you can’t guarantee everyone a house or a hospital bed if you are going to allow hundreds of thousands of people – many of them state dependents – into the country to join the existing queues.
Aodhán Ó Riordáin of Labour signalled that while he is happy with the amnesty for illegal immigrants, that he would prefer that there be a “citizenship amnesty” that would mean that anyone resident in Ireland would automatically become a citizen.
Does any country on the face of the earth have such a policy? What if someone from another country comes to live here but would actually prefer to remain a citizen of wherever? Would they be harassed by a bunch of citizenship Mrs. Doyles carrying trays of passports and urging them to “Go on, go on, go on, go on, GO ON!” until they decide to embrace their hidden New Irishness?
Holly Cairns referred to migrant women and girls being disproportionately represented among the victims of “gender-based violence.” Is that true? If it is, perhaps she might wish to think through the implications because she went on to state that such victims often do not report such violence “because their status is linked to a partner’s entitlement to retain immigration status following a separation from a partner.” Indeed. The elephant in the corner of “gender-based violence.”
Thomas Pringle from Donegal rambled briefly about accepting people from “war torn and economically fragile African and Middle Eastern countries” in blithe disregard of the fact that the vast majority of asylum seekers in Ireland are not from “war torn” or “unsafe” countries, and that economic status is not a valid ground for asylum.
Not that it matters because almost every one of them – and they really could and should be in the one party – trot out the tired platitudes and myths on everything from immigration to abortion without anyone challenging them. Not one TD either asked questions about the purpose of this fund, how much money Irish taxpayers will contribute, or where the money will go; and not one of them voted against it.