Dáil approval of EU Migration Pact marks turning point for Irish immigration system – Maria Walsh MEP

The approval of the EU Asylum and Migration Pact by the Dáil marks a turning point in the reform of Ireland’s immigration system, Maria Walsh MEP has said. 

Maria Walsh MEP was involved in drafting the EU Migration Pact at European level, being one of only two Irish MEPs to sit on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), the Committee responsible for the Pact. 

Maria Walsh, MEP for Midlands-North West, said: 

“The issue of migration has been one of the EU’s biggest policy failures to date, which is why Ireland’s adoption of the EU Migration Pact is so important. The EU has a common external border, and we therefore need a common European migration policy.

“Without the Pact, Ireland would be an outlier in Europe. As a small island nation, we cannot afford to go it alone on one of the defining issues of our times. We would be left operating less effective measures, and would see a further increase in applications. By opting into the Pact, our laws on asylum and migration will be fully aligned with the EU for the first time.

“We’ve heard many politicians arguing against the Pact for their own political gain, with false and misleading information handed out as truth. For example, some claim there will be a significant cost to Ireland in opting into the Pact. The opposite is the case. 

“In addition to the savings from a more efficient system, there is also a substantial EU budget of €1 billion which we can access to support implementation of the Pact. Further funding will also be available in the next EU budget, which I intend to be closely involved in. 

“It was disappointing, but not surprising, to see Sinn Féin oppose the Pact in the Dáil last night. This opposition highlights one of the party’s defining characteristics; a thinly-veiled Eurosceptiscim. 

“Once again, Sinn Féin have opposed working with our European neighbours on a key European issue. The votes of Deputy McDonald and her colleagues in the Dáil highlight their party’s resistance to working as a bloc to harness the strength of the EU. Instead, they prefer to choose a go it alone route, and deploy rhetoric such as ‘open borders’ and Irish ‘sovereignty’ in an attempt to scaremonger. 

“The grown ups in the room know that Ireland’s adoption of the EU Migration Pact is key to reforming our migration system, and I look forward to continuing my work on this issue over the course of the coming two-year implementation period.”