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Dublin: 2 °C Monday 16 December, 2019
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Hundreds of undocumented migrants stage candlelit march to Dáil

The campaigners called on the Government to give them the opportunity to win legal status in Ireland.

The marchers on Stephen's Green in Dublin
The marchers on Stephen's Green in Dublin
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

HUNDREDS OF UNDOCUMENTED migrants and their supporters staged a candlelit march to the Dáil this afternoon to highlight the plight of 30,000 people who are living undocumented in Ireland.

Led by banners reading “Santa is Undocumented too”, the organisers of the march called on the Government to give Ireland’s undocumented workers the opportunity to legalise their status.

One organiser, Edel McGinley of the Migrant Rights Centre, said many marchers had “taken a great risk” to attend the demonstration.

Jayson Montenegro, originally from the Philippines but living undocumented in Ireland for almost eight years, told the crowd: “I haven’t seen my children in over eight years.  Every year it gets harder, especially at Christmas.  They ask me on the phone ‘Daddy, when are you coming to see us?’  It breaks my heart.”

Another undocumented campaigner, who did not wish to be named, said her daughter was academically in the top five per cent of all Irish school students, but could not be sure of her future.

She said: “What will happen to her when she wants to go to University?  I want her to have a great life but I am really fearful for her future and that she won’t get that chance because she is undocumented.”

Dublin City Council recently passed a motion supporting the introduction of an “earned regularisation scheme”, allowing people working undocumented in Ireland to gain legal status.

Cllr Rebecca Moynihan said at the time: “It would be disingenuous of us to support a similar campaign for Irish undocumented in the US while not extending the same consideration to undocumented migrants living in Ireland.”

More: Restaurant worker awarded €86,000 after years of forced labour in Dublin>

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Michael Freeman

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