Sinn Féin’s rhetoric on migration akin to language used during Brexit vote – MEP Walsh

Sinn Féin’s Eurosceptic colours came to the fore once again this week as they failed to support the EU’s landmark migration policy and used language last heard during the UK Brexit debate, MEP Maria Walsh has said. 

The EU Pact on Migration and Asylum was passed by the European Parliament yesterday. All five Fine Gael MEPs voted in favour of all policies within the Pact, while Sinn Féin’s only MEP Chris MacManus failed to vote for the majority of policies. 

The Pact will reduce the number of asylum applications Ireland has to process, decrease the time people spend in State provided accommodation and make the return of those not entitled to protection much more efficient. 

MEP Maria Walsh sits 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:  

“After 10 years of deadlock and slow progress, the European Parliament has finally passed the first ever comprehensive plan to manage EU migration. Sinn Féin are happy to speak about the failures of Government and the EU on migration, but they continue to oppose any realistic progress in favour of political point scoring. That’s irresponsible politics – but also in keeping with Sinn Féin’s style. 

“Once again, they have decided to take the easy way out; picking and choosing rather than working constructively to tackle the issues at hand. What they don’t seem to understand is that without all aspects of the EU Migration Pact, there is no Pact. 

“Yet again, we see the party flip-flopping on key policy issues. At the start of this Parliamentary term, Sinn Fein’s position under then MEP Matt Carthy was to oppose Eurodac – the European database that stores the fingerprints of international protection applicants. 

This week, we’ve seen the party do yet another u-turn by supporting Eurodac’s extension, saying it is “necessary”.

“We’ve seen sitting MEP Chris MacManus deploy worrying rhetoric when speaking about migration, talking about ‘open borders’ and Irish ‘sovereignty’. The last time we heard such talk was out of the Conservative Party during the Brexit vote. Since the UK’s disastrous decision to go it alone and leave the EU, they have faced record-breaking immigration levels and a broken asylum system. 

“MEP MacManus says his party opposes ‘open borders’. Either he’s not aware that Ireland does not have open borders, nor would we under the Pact – or else he is wilfully misleading the public on the implications of the EU Migration Pact.

“MEP MacManus’ voting record on the Pact and his statement also seem to tell two very different stories; begging the question – what exactly is the party’s stance on migration?”