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Address to Seanad Éireann by Ms Anne Brasseur (Resumed)

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Address to Seanad Éireann by Ms Anne Brasseur (Resumed)

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Address to Seanad Éireann by Ms Anne Brasseur (Resumed)

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Senator David Cullinane

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Address to Seanad Éireann by Ms Anne Brasseur (Resumed)
Snippet Contents:

I welcome President Brasseur to the Seanad and to Dublin. I hope she enjoys her short stay. I commend her on the work that she is doing in Europe and on her comprehensive contribution to the Seanad today.
I wish to pick up on a number of the issues and themes that she raised and to support some of them. The first issue is the rights of the Traveller community in this State. We have a long way to go in terms of the responsibility of this State towards Travellers. I would welcome Ms Brasseur's thoughts on what practical steps the State could take to protect the rights of Travellers.
With regard to migrant groups, we can agree in general that we need burden sharing across Europe as regards the issue of illegal migrants. I am concerned about the rise of far right groups across Europe and their very anti-immigration position. Thankfully, we do not have that same situation in this State but we can see it happening in other states across Europe. A lot of issues feed into the rise of such groups which has little to do with immigration and more to do with economic issues in those states. The situation is very worrying. I agree with Senator Quinn that the rise of the far right is something that should worry us all. I would like to hear Ms Brasseur's view on that matter.
My party and I have previously raised the issue of direct provision for asylum seekers. They are provided for directly in what are called reception centres. However, they do not have the right to work or many other rights. It is a policy of out of sight and out of mind, with very little integration in the wider society. Very often, these people must wait years for asylum to be granted and while they wait for the process to be completed, they are kept in reception centres. In some cases, the management in the centres is questionable. What is Ms Brasseur's opinion on the overall policy and where Ireland can improve?
We are all concerned about the unstable and volatile situation in Ukraine. I agree that the annexation of Crimea by Russia was not legitimate for all sorts of reasons. However, I am concerned about one of the reasons given by the EU for not supporting it, which was the constitution in Ukraine. A referendum will take place in Catalonia and Spain's constitution does not allow for a region to secede from the Spanish state. This constitution was drawn up by Franco. In my view, the majority of people in the region support independence. Therefore, the EU should be open to the idea and supportive of the democratic right of citizens, once elections and referendums are fair and not under pressure from a military occupation, which is what happened in Ukraine. There was also a very short lead in to the referendum and all sorts of other issues in Ukraine. I am concerned about an inconsistency of approach in Europe and I ask Ms Brasseur for her opinion in this regard. I wish her well for her short stay here in Dublin.