Tension rises between Ireland and the UK over migration

Relations between London and Dublin have been brutally strained in recent days, with Ireland criticizing the office of the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, for the supposed collateral effects of the United Kingdom-Rwanda Agreement, consisting of the expulsion to this country of East African asylum seekers arriving in the UK. On Tuesday April 30, the Irish government of Simon Harris approved an emergency bill aimed at facilitating the return to the United Kingdom of asylum seekers who arrived in the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland (still a British province) .

The tension is so high between the two countries that the Irish authorities are talking about the need to monitor the almost 500 kilometers of border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland while Dublin struggled throughout the Brexit negotiation, between 2016 and 2019, so that this border remains completely virtual.

It all started with a figure put forward by Helen McEntee, the Irish Minister of Justice, during a hearing of the Justice Committee of the Irish Parliament on April 23. Some “80% of asylum seekers” arrived in Ireland come from the United Kingdom via Belfast, taking advantage of the Common Travel Area (CTA), a specific free movement agreement between Ireland and the United Kingdom, assured the minister, specifying that 5,000 people have requested asylum in the Republic since the beginning of 2024, a record.

Very controversial agreement with Kigali

Instead of applying for asylum upon arriving at an Irish airport or port from another European, African or Asian country, these people present themselves at the International Protection Office (IPO) in the heart of Dublin. . The emergency accommodation to accommodate them is so saturated that dozens of them sleep in tents set up in the streets adjacent to this organization.

Rishi Sunak picked up the ball, welcoming the figure put forward by Minister McEntee, seeing it as proof that the UK – Rwanda Agreement has indeed the“deterrent effect” expected – people arriving in Ireland via Belfast would flee the prospect of being deported by British authorities to Rwanda. On April 25, the leader had Westminster adopt the Safety of Rwanda law intended to finally operationalize the very controversial agreement with Kigali, still virtual two years after its signature.

Read the decryption | Article reserved for our subscribers In the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak obtains the adoption of the law on the expulsion of asylum seekers to Rwanda

Dublin’s response was quick and sharp: “There is no question of Ireland offering an escape from the migration challenges of another country,” reacted on Sunday, Simon Harris, the leader of the centrist Fine Gael party and taoiseach (“Irish Prime Minister”) for a month. “We are not going to start accepting referrals from [demandeurs d’asile] of the European Union [UE] via Ireland when the EU refuses returns to France [de demandeurs d’asile arrivés au Royaume-Uni en small boats] “, replied Rishi Sunak the next day, adding that he was not ” not interested “ by an agreement to return migrants with Dublin.

You have 50.22% of this article left to read. The rest is reserved for subscribers.

source site-29