Sinn Féin’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Seán Crowe TD, spoke in the Dáil today on the refugee crisis facing Europe and the ongoing clashes in occupied East Jerusalem that have left several dead and heightened tensions.

Crowe raised the issues with the Taoiseach ahead of the upcoming European Council meeting.

Deputy Crowe said:

“Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis since World War Two.

“I welcome that the Irish Government have agreed to accept 4,000 refugees. However I am worried about the lack of accurate detail and precise information surrounding the relocation.

“We know that a cohort of 520 will arrive in Ireland already classified as refugees. However the other 3,500 will come to Ireland under the ‘Irish Refugee Protection Programme’ and will be seeking refugee status when they arrive.

“I am calling on the Government to clarify if they will then be forced into the discredited Direct Provision system, or some similar system with a different name.

“I want to reiterate my support for the work of the Irish naval service in the Mediterranean and to the crew of the LÉ Samuel Beckett, who rescued 430 people this week.

“The work of the Irish Naval Service on search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean is extremely important and they have now rescued over 7,639 individuals.

“Today I urged the Taoiseach to ensure that Ireland has a continued presence on these live saving missions.

“I also raised my concerns of news that the EU is planning on fast tracking the deportation of certain refugees and others whose asylum applications failed and I urged the Taoiseach, to ensure that Ireland strongly opposes this move, which will inevitably lead to huge human rights violations.

Speaking on Palestine, Deputy Crowe said:

“Renewed clashes have broken out in Occupied East Jerusalem in recent days that have left several dead and tensions heightened to an unprecedented level.

“Three young Palestinians were killed over this weekend alone. One was a 13 year old boy, still in his school uniform. In the last week over 500 Palestinians have been wounded, 200 of them with live bullets.

“The Taoiseach needs to raise the brutal repression faced by Palestinians at this upcoming European Council and to push for stronger EU and international action against Israel, who continually violates international and human rights law.

“The State of Palestine has repeatedly appealed for international protection yet the EU continues to provide Israel with favourable trade and political agreements.

“Europe needs to introduce a ban on settlement goods and the Irish Government needs to follow through on Sinn Féin’s motion, which was unanimously supported in the Dáil, for Ireland to recognise the State of Palestine.”