Press Centre

Thousands of undocumented living in Ireland and abroad will celebrate St Patrick’s Day while living in the shadows

PRESS RELEASE: 15 March 2012

St Patrick’s Day is a day of celebration across the globe for Irish people. “This is a day that reminds us of being Irish, of our shared values of equality and justice that as a nation we want the world to see” said Ms. McGinley of the MRCI. She continues "there are an estimated 30,000 undocumented people, including children and families, who have been living undocumented in Ireland.  Just like the undocumented Irish across the globe, they too are deeply rooted within our communities, working, paying taxes and trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. They have made Ireland their home. But they live in the shadows under tremendous stress and fear of deportation."

Sara, a Sri Lankan woman living undocumented for nine years with her sixteen year old daughter said “Ireland is our home.”  She went on “My daughter has been educated here and was ranked in the top 5% academically of all students in Ireland. In her heart and experience she is Irish.  Since she was little, every year we have gone as a family to the St Patricks Day parade.   I want her to have a great life but I am really fearful for her future, that she won’t get the chance to live up to her potential because she is undocumented.”

Justice for the Undocumented campaign member Elisa Fuentes originally from the Philippines who came to Ireland in 2007, said “it is very hard being undocumented. I feel invisible. I have three children to support and I work really hard to provide an education for them. Yet I am in limbo.”   Speaking on behalf of the Justice for the Undocumented Campaign she said “we believe that Ireland has the opportunity to provide a fair and pragmatic solution to our situation by introducing a regularisation scheme which considers both the rights and responsibilities of undocumented people living here”.


Undocumented Migrants from the Justice for the Undocumented Campaign are available for interview

In the run up to St Patrick’s Day, undocumented migrants make a human shamrock on Sandymount stand, Dublin, as part of the Justice for the Undocumented Campaign to highlight the plight of the estimated 30,000 undocumented migrants who have made Ireland their home.

Picture by Fionn Scannell

Notes to the Editor

A profile study of 1,250 undocumented migrants seeking assistance from the MRCI over a two year period (2009-2011) shows that the undocumented migrant population in Ireland tends to be older with significant numbers of women with children. The majority of the undocumented are engaged in employment, typically in more informal job sectors such as restaurants and cleaning, and many have been with the same employer for several years.