Irish Politics stands to benefit from new citizens’ participation

29 April 2019

Speaking in relation to today’s citizenship ceremonies for 2,400 new Irish citizens, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, spoke about the need for more new Irish citizens to get involved in electoral politics.

Brendan said: “The award of Irish citizenship should a proud and joyous occasion for our new citizens and their families. Our new, diverse communities have made an overwhelmingly positive contribution to Irish society by sharing their traditions and taking part in Irish traditions. Bilingual children from migrant backgrounds are often quick learners of the Irish language.

“Migrants also make an overwhelmingly positive contribution to the Irish economy, paying a sizeable share of taxes and social insurance, as well as working in our health system, which is especially important for Ireland’s older population.

“This is the first election where fringe elements have attempted to make migration a political issue, copying the rhetoric of the far-right from Europe and the United States. Labour is unequivocally opposed to racism and xenophobia, which should have no place in Irish politics. Public authorities should be vigilant against any breach of electoral law by organisations seeking to promote that toxic agenda.

“I’m delighted that Labour has four candidates from a migrant background standing in these local elections: Anne Waithira Burke in Greystones, Kamal Uddin in Mayo and Yulia Ghumman in Fingal, as well as Councillor Elena Secas in Limerick City. We need more people from Ireland’s new communities, not just as voters, but to get involved in electoral politics. Political parties must also remove barriers to their participation.”

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