I've had a glance through the newly-published heads of McDowell's Immigration Bill and, unsurprisingly, it's a depressing read. There can be little doubt that the minister has an eye on the general election and, having been so successful at creating foreign bogeymen via the citizenship referendum, subsequent comments about "cock and bull stories", etc., is now trying to show how tough he is on them.

One unfortunate thing that jumped out at me immediately is the requirement that all foreign nationals carry ID cards. What a recipe for racial profiling and harassment that is. Non-whites are obviously going to be the primary targets - and what happens when a bored Garda looking for something to do challenges a naturalised Irish citizen for their ID? Of course, as a citizen, they won't have one, but how will they prove it? Effectively, if they want to avoid the (inevitable) hassle, they will be forced to carry proof of their citizenship! This will constitute discrimination against Irish citizens on the basis of their race or ethnic origin - which is not only inherently obnoxious but probably also illegal, under the Equal Status Acts.

I didn't notice anything in the heads of the bill about family reunification, which is frankly unbelievable. As everyone who works in the immigration sector knows, this is a massive issue. At present, only refugees and non-Irish EU nationals have a statutory right to have their spouses and minor children live here with them - even Irish citizens don't have that right! McDowell has consistently fobbed off Parliamentary Questions on the subject, saying that he would deal with all of this in the upcoming legislation - so where is it?


On another note, I was sorry but not altogether surprised to hear the news that Daily Ireland is to cease publication. The truth is that it never lived up to its potential - too parochial, and with frequently baffling editorial decisions. I thought its columnists, its foreign news and its Celtic coverage were good and, of course, it was always refreshing to get through a whole Irish newspaper without the SF bashing that all the others are so fond of. Shame it didn't work out but I have to say that its creators really only have themselves to blame.

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