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Varadkar says immigrants more likely to be working and paying tax than average Irish person

The Taoiseach told the Dáil he was “pleased and proud” of Irish people and their response to immigration.

Image: Artur Widak/NURPhoto/PA Images

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR told the Dáil today that immigrants were “more likely to be working than the average Irish person and more likely to be paying tax”.

The Fine Gael leader was defending Ireland’s record on immigration, saying that migrants into Ireland had become more integrated here than in other countries.

He also said that Ireland’s record in this area was better than the likes of the UK, France and Germany. 

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald had asked the Taoiseach if he had challenged his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz on the issue of immigration at a recent EU summit.

“Did he challenge him?  Did he challenge his partners in government?” she asked .

As to our management of migration here, I think it has been fairly disastrous.  One only needs to look to the system of direct provision to have proof positive that, far from managing migration, in fact, we are failing spectacularly in that regard.

In response, Varadkar admitted there may be shortcomings in the government’s record in direct provision before commenting more generally on the issue of immigration. 

“We have done much better on integration than those countries, largely because our immigration has been diverse rather than having come mainly from one country,” he said. 

It has come from other parts of Europe and all over the world.  In addition, migrants are very well-integrated into our labour market and are, in fact, more likely to be working than the average Irish person and more likely to be paying tax. 

Varadkar said that in many areas, “particularly health”, immigrants are “really holding up our public services” as well as helping to bring in investment from large companies such as Google and Facebook.

He added that Irish people had not engaged in anti-immigrant rhetoric that other parts of Europe had in recent years. 

“I am pleased and proud of the Irish people that during our deep recession when there was very high unemployment and living standards were falling, people did not turn to anti-immigration or racist politics in the way they have in other countries when times have been tough,” Varadkar added.

About the author:

Sean Murray

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