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Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 24 November 2011

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Questions (160, 161)

Eoghan Murphy


161 Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the earned regularisation scheme proposal for undocumented persons and their families living in this country. [36757/11]

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Éamon Ó Cuív


174 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he intends introducing an earned regularisation scheme for undocumented migrants here who have been in the country for many years in view of the requests by the Irish Government to the US authorities for such a scheme for undocumented Irish in the US; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36813/11]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 161 and 174 together.

I refer the Deputy to my reply below to Parliamentary Question No. 168 of 17 November 2011. The position is unchanged since then. The reply stated:

I am aware that there have been proposals of this nature and of course my Department will give due consideration to the issue. However great caution should be exercised before embarking on such a project. A proposal of this nature could give rise to very large, unpredictable and potentially very costly impacts across the full range of public and social services.

At EU level, the Member States, in agreeing the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum at the European Council in October 2008, made specific commitments "to use only case-by-case regularisation, rather than generalised regularisation, under national law, for humanitarian or economic reasons". While the Pact is not legally binding, the political commitment among the Member States, then and now, is clearly against any form of process that would in any way legitimise the status of those unlawfully present without first examining the merits of their individual case.

Any possible implication for the operation of the Common Travel Area would also have to be very carefully considered.