Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/161/7833

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 June 2000

THE QUESTION of asylum seekers has come to the top of the political agenda in southern Ireland. Meanwhile, racist attacks, particularly against African asylum seekers and refugees, are on the increase, especially in Dublin. TOM CREAN from the Socialist Party (our sister party in Ireland) reports.

Irish politicians scapegoat refugees

IT SHOULD come as no surprise that a layer of reactionary politicians, primarily but not only from Fianna Fail, have seized the opportunity to play the 'race card'.

Their statements always begin with: "I'm not a racist but..." and then go on to say something utterly racist. The comments of Councillor Michael Healy Rae who claimed that the vast majority of asylum-seekers were "free-loaders, blackguards and hoodlums" is a typical example.

The government's 'dispersal' policy of placing asylum seekers in small pockets around the country has been attacked at large, angry meetings from Rosslare, County Waterford to Clogheen, County Tipperary.

Despite the rantings of bigots playing on people's worst fears, residents of small towns and villages with few facilities often have legitimate concerns. Anger with the Department of Justice, who notify them a few days in advance of the arrival of the asylum seekers, is entirely understandable.

In Corofin, County Clare, for example, the only local hostel has been bought by the Department to house asylum seekers, thus taking away a major source of tourism income for the village.

Nor are the policies of 'dispersal' and 'direct provision' in the interest of asylum seekers. With only a 15 a week allowance above room and board, refugees placed in remote areas will be barely able to afford the price of a bus ticket to visit a major town to obtain legal and other services that are unavailable in small villages. And, asylum seekers still don't have the right to work during their first year in Ireland.

The government hopes to put as many asylum seekers 'out of sight, out of mind' while stepping up plans for mass deportations.

Racist hysteria

THE NOTION that there is a 'flood' of refugees is utterly false, deliberately whipped up by politicians and sections of the media

There are currently 11,400 asylum seekers in Ireland whose applications are being processed. There are a further 4,000 whose applications have been rejected and who are thus liable to be deported.

It is true that the number of asylum seekers is growing. Last year there were 7,000 applications but this compares with net immigration of nearly 20,000. In fact, the government is actively promoting immigration with FAS [government employment agency] currently organising jobs fairs across North America. The government's message is: 'If you're white and skilled you're wanted; if you're black and fleeing repression or economic destitution, stay away!'

Those sections of the establishment which are playing the race card are doing so in order to divert the attention of ordinary people from the stench of corruption in politics; the wholesale defrauding of the tax system by the rich; and the utter failure to tackle poverty and deprivation.

Ireland, unlike most countries, has experienced a booming economy recently whose main product has been a staggering increase in social inequality. Massive wealth has been created but we have a health care system in crisis, no prospect of resolving transport gridlock and, worst of all, skyrocketing house prices which have now put a home beyond the reach of large sections of the working class.

In this situation it is understandable that there is anger that the government seems to be prepared to spend millions to buy hotels around the country to house asylum seekers while 100,000 languish on the housing list. But in reality paltry sums are being spent on refugees while spending on public housing has plummeted in recent years.

This year, Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy expects to get more than 2 billion in surplus tax revenue into the Exchequer. This would be enough to build 40,000 homes and eliminate the housing list backlog.

It is not refugees, fleeing the same sorts of problems Irish people fled for 150 years, who are to blame for the housing crisis but rather the profiteering speculators and builders and the politicians they have bribed for years.

Workers are beginning to demand their share of the 'Tiger economy' and it's time to demand decent accommodation for all as a basic human right. It is also time that the anger of ordinary people be directed against their real enemies and that the poison of racism - which can only serve the interests of the rich elite by keeping us divided - be firmly rejected.

The truth about the housing crisis

WHILE WORKERS kept bosses' profits up in the 1990s through low wages and funded services through PAYE taxes, billions were siphoned off by the rich to offshore accounts.

950 million may have been lost to the Exchequer in unpaid DIRT (Direct Interest Retention Tax) tax alone since the late 1980s.

Above and beyond this, 2 billion in unpaid tax is owed after two tax amnesties of the 1990s.

The government budget surplus for 1999 was 5 billion which means, regardless of money spent on refugees, they have enough resources to resolve the housing problem twice over.

Big business tax evasion in the 1990s robbed the state of 3 billion which could also have been used to resolve the housing problem and provide much needed services for communities. If the state went after the rich fraudsters and used the resources that exist to build homes for all, they would also save the millions they give in subsides to landlords through rent allowance.


Average price of house in Dublin:

1993 = 55,125
1999 = 113,299

Cost of building that house:

1993 = 44,100 (estimate, assuming 20% profit)
1999 = 49,613

Developers, speculators, builders and the banks are sharing a staggering 128% profit.

Cost of building 40,000 units = 1.98 billion; far less than unpaid taxes of last decade.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 9 June 2000:

Blair's Allies Desert Him

No Post Office Sell-Off

New Labour's drugs policies don't work

Irish politicians scapegoat refugees


 

Home   |   The Socialist 9 June 2000   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Refugees:

triangleHundreds of torture victims wrongly detained

triangleGerman elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

triangleBrutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis

triangleDerby Socialist Party: Solidarity with refugees - defend the right to asylum

triangleG20 betrays refugees created by its own policies

Housing:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleNo more fire deaths - ensure safety now!

triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

triangleEast London summit fails to address housing crisis

Ireland:

triangleBoeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangleLeeds Socialist Students marks 'International Safe Abortion Day'

triangleEyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events

Asylum:

triangle40% of England's psychiatric wards are 'unsafe'

triangleSupport for Socialist Party campaigns at biggest ever Leeds Pride

The Socialist:

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

Socialist Party:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

Racist:

triangleRefreshing, anticapitalist - but little pointing a way forward

Socialist:

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

Tax:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2