Fine Gael Dublin MEP Gay Mitchell TD has urged the Government to adopt his proposal for a single minister for immigrant affairs, after learning that the Cabinet is at last considering addressing the issue.
“Reports that the Cabinet is finally addressing the issue of immigrants and immigration are welcome and long overdue. I have been calling for the creation of a single minister of state for immigrant affairs for the last three years. In the Dáil I put forward a motion three and a half years ago calling for a cross-departmental junior minister who would have main responsibility on this issue.
“My suggestion was that the position could be held by the Government Chief Whip. As Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach I co-ordinated European affairs across all Departments. Immigration requires a similar co-ordinated response.
“I am pleased that the Government has had a belated change of heart. However, I would urge the Government not to go down the road of creating a Cabinet sub-committee for immigrants, in place of a dedicated minister. This Government’s record with Cabinet sub-committees is abysmal, not least its road safety committee.
“Immigration is an essential part of our economic success. We cannot ignore the fact that some migrants do less than well than others, and may need assistance in terms of health, education or language. The issues of racism and integration also need a co-ordinated response.
“With more than 400,000 migrants currently living in the State it is time for these issues to be addressed. I urge the Government to now accept my proposal for a dedicated minister for immigration, which will allow for a comprehensive response.”