Press Centre

International Migrants Day: No child should grow up undocumented in Ireland (18.12.18)

“In 2019, Ireland could be a world leader in children’s rights.”

2018 was a watershed moment for children in Ireland: viral petitions and public polling showed that Irish people believe all children to be equal, regardless of who their parents are or where they were born.

On International Migrants Day (Tuesday 18 December) the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) is calling for the Government to match the will of the people in 2019 by passing legislation to give papers to all undocumented children and young people in Ireland.

MRCI Director Edel McGinley said, “No child should grow up undocumented in Ireland. No child should live in fear and uncertainty when a piece of paper can give them hope and security. In 2019, Ireland could be a world leader in children’s rights.”

Young, Paperless & Powerful, a group of undocumented teenagers and young people growing up in Ireland, have been campaigning for three years for a pathway to papers for all undocumented children. The group members came to Ireland to join their migrant worker parents - some of them more than a decade ago - but cannot get the papers that would allow them to work, continue to third level, travel, and live the full lives they dream of.

Anisha, a founding member of Young, Paperless & Powerful, has lived in Dublin for 15 years. She is undocumented. Speaking today, she said, “This is my home, this is where my family is, this is where my friends are. The Government says I have no future here. How can I not have a future in the only home I’ve ever known?”

McGinley concluded, “We are a nation with a deep understanding of migration and a long history of lobbying for the Irish undocumented across the world. The very least we can do is give the same support and compassion to the undocumented children and young people living right here in Ireland."

ENDS

CONTACT

Aoife Murphy 01 5241454 / communications@mrci.ie

NOTES

International Migrants Day has been observed on December 18th every year since 2000.

The Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Naturalisation of Minors Born in Ireland) Bill 2018 passed second stage in the Seanad on November 21st 2018, and could be amended to include all undocumented children and young people in Ireland.