FG Ministers speaking out of both sides of their mouth on child deportations

18 October 2018

In response to the campaign to allow Eric Zhi Ying Zhu stay in his own country, Labour Party Chair and candidate for Wicklow, Jack O’Connor who is strongly supporting the campaign, has accused Fine Gael Ministers of speaking out of both sides of their mouth on the proposed deportation of young children.

Labour opposed the changes to the Constitution in 2004 that is causing this, while Fine Gael supported the removal of birth-right citizenship.

Mr O’Connor said:

“Fine Gael have a crackdown underway to deport young children who are not Irish citizens but firmly embedded in our communities.

“The latest case is that of nine year old Eric Zhi Ying Xue in Bray who has no other citizenship, was born in Ireland, and attends St Cronan’s school. A FG Government is seeking to deport him. I want to thank my colleague Sen. Ivana Bacik for raising this in the Seanad today, and calling on the Minister for Justice to outline what the policy is now on child deportations.

“I am proud to strongly support the 30,000 people who have signed a petition to ensure Eric is allowed to stay in Ireland.

“The Minister for Health is apparently assisting the school and family with their case, but the question he must answer is why are Fine Gael deporting children and removing them from local schools and communities? It is clear that FG Ministers are speaking out of both sides of their mouth on this issue.

“This is the second case in a week, following on from the Minister for Justice intervening to help a child in his own constituency who was threatened with deportation.

“Children who are at risk of deportation shouldn’t have to rely on a postcode lottery with a Minister in their constituency who wants to ensure they are on the right side of a public campaign.

“The current policy is a direct result of decisions made by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael who supported the constitutional referendum in 2004. I am proud that the Labour Party opposed this referendum in 2004, but we are now seeing the direct result of it.

It’s all very well for FG Ministers to put themselves on the side of the angels in a specific case in their own constituency but this barbaric deportation of Irish children is the logical consequence of their populist posturing in the 2004 referendum.

“The Ministers for Health, and Justice should make clear whether they support the deportation of children, or if they are just against those cases in their constituencies.”


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