Mayo Intercultural Action Responds to Judge Devins Inflammatory Comments
Mayo Intercultural Action condemns the comments made by Judge Devins suggesting that the Irish Social Welfare system is a charity for Polish people. It is welcomed that Judge Mary Devins has sought to clarify and apologise for her remark however the apology in itself does not retract the statement made nor apologise for the sentiment it conveyed.
During periods of recession migrants are disproportionately affected and are more likely to lose their jobs than Irish people. Similar to all people who become redundant migrants are entitled to apply for appropriate social welfare payments. The reality of this process is that migrants have to satisfy the habitual residence test similar to all social welfare applicants regardless of the length of time the person has spent in the state. They are also subject to a lengthy appeal process if found not to be habitually resident for any reason. It is wholly inappropriate for Judge Devins to imply that Polish people, or indeed any migrants, are treated more favourably by the system or indeed that they should not be entitled to social welfare assistance.
Michelle Rooney of Mayo Intercultural Action said "it is the role of people who hold positions of authority and power, such as a member of the judiciary, to challenge racism and discrimination and to uphold fairness in the interest of all members of society. Unfortunately racism exists in Ireland, and there is a rising anti immigrant stance emerging across Europe which needs to be challenged. Migration is a reality of a modern society, migrants coming to Ireland enriched the society and the economy similar to what Irish people have done in other countries for many generations. Inflammatory comments against one race or nationality are simply unacceptable."