Press Centre

Children’s Committee to hear stories of undocumented children in Ireland (Wednesday 30.11.16)

 

Representatives from the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) will address the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs at 9am on Wednesday 30th November 2016.

Edel McGinley, director of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), said “It’s time Ireland gave the same consideration to the undocumented in Ireland as it does to the undocumented Irish in America. We know undocumented teenagers who have lived in Ireland for thirteen years; it’s the only home they’ve ever known, and yet they can’t go to college, they can’t work, and they can’t leave Ireland because they risk never being allowed back. The mental health risks are enormous.”

She continued, “We’re calling for the introduction of a regularisation scheme: a straightforward, transparent, case-by-case way for children, families and workers to come forward and become documented. It is the only sensible solution to an issue that is not going to go away on its own.”

Prathna* (16) was nine years old when she came to Ireland to join her parents, who were working and studying here. She said, “Ireland is my home. Everyone I know is here, it’s all I have. A piece of paper doesn’t define who I am, but my future depends on it.”

McGinley concluded, “Failure to regularise undocumented children and young people leaves us in breach of our international human rights obligations. In February, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called on Ireland to introduce a pathway to papers for children and families. There is no good reason not to act on this immediately.”

*Name changed for reasons of confidentiality. For the same reason, neither Prathna nor any other member of Young, Paperless and Powerful, MRCI’s undocumented youth group, can present at the Committee.

CONTACT

Aoife Murphy 01 524 1454 / communications@mrci.ie

NOTES

The Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs press release is available here: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/mediazone/pressreleases/2016/name-39884-en.html

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) has been working with undocumented migrants in Ireland since 2001. For more information about our Justice for the Undocumented campaign, please see http://www.mrci.ie/our-work/justice-for-undocumented/

At 5.30pm on Wednesday 30th November, artists Robert Ballagh and Jim Fitzpatrick will launch an installation by MRCI and the JFU campaign in Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin 1. Inspired by a Japanese legend which states that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes is granted one wish, undocumented migrants around the country have been folding origami cranes in hopes of being granted their wish: regularisation. Photo call details to follow.