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Snippet Contents:

I congratulate the Minister of State on her new appointment. I again express my disappointment that the Taoiseach does not feel we are worth listening to. Perhaps we need to give him more reason to show some respect.
The EU tends to view the refugee crisis as a defence and security issue. However, this is deeply destructive and separate from the real problem. As others have said, we are throwing money at despots to keep desperate people from leaving countries we have helped to destroy. Giving money to countries such as Egypt, Libya and other African states, as well as Afghanistan, to stem the flow of refugees is nothing short of immoral. I wish the Taoiseach would say so. The Turkey deal is just one of a number of disastrous deals. The amount of money we have given that country beggars belief, particularly in light of what is going on there. The European defence action plan, which includes proposals to use European Investment Bank funds to develop the arms industry - or so-called security research in Europe - was also discussed.
Despite the Stability and Growth Pact restrictions on public infrastructure spending in member states, it is planned to use a loophole which exempts increases in the European Investment Bank's capital from being governed by the pact. Therefore, while member states must abide by EU fiscal rules when it comes to housing, education and social security spending, the best lawyers in Europe are paid to figure out how we can divert more funds to arms research. What should we expect when the defence industry is probably the biggest and most powerful lobby in Europe?
Climate change was discussed, but not its impact on the refugee crisis. Along with the disastrous imperial wars of recent years, climate change is driving people to a situation where they must flee or die. According to United Nations estimates, nearly 20 million people are at risk due to famine or near-famine conditions in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen alone. More than 120 refugees, mainly Sudanese, died in a shipwreck off the Libyan coast last weekend. These people are fleeing hunger, death, rape and other human rights atrocities being perpetrated by all sides in the conflict that has been raging since 2013. The US has been arming, training and funding the government army that recruits child soldiers and rapes, tortures and has carried out massacres of civilians. The EU is giving the same administration hundreds of millions of euro to stem the flow of refugees from the country. This money is nearly impossible to track and many human rights organisations fear it is being funnelled into the military.
Instead of pouring arms into these countries, picking sides in battles where every player is in the wrong and exacerbating the breakdown of the structures needed to deal with climate disaster, we should be dramatically increasing humanitarian aid and engaging in research aimed at helping farmers and making it possible to sustain the lives of people in these countries, rather than, as at present, facilitating their being bombed.