File image of Justice Minister Helen McEntee Sasko Lazarov/
Dublin City

Migrant rights group awaiting response from Justice Minister on ‘immigration checks’ concern

Last week, the Garda Press Office announced that planned ‘days of high impact visibility’ in Dublin city centre would include ‘immigration checks’.

MIGRANT RIGHTS CENTRE Ireland has yet to receive a response from the Justice Minister or Assistant Garda Commissioner regarding “confusion” around plans to carry out “immigration checks” as part of a wider initiative to tackle inner city crime in Dublin.

Last week, a statement by the Garda Press Office announced plans for so-called “days of high impact visibility” in Dublin city centre.

Alongside intelligence-led searches and enforcement of road traffic offences, the Garda Press Office said these days would also involve “immigration checks”.

In response, the MRCI said it had written to both Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Assistant Garda Commissioner Angela Willis as to why immigration checks have been included alongside measures to increase Garda visibility in the capital.

“We are very concerned about the risk of ethnic profiling and the unjustified and disproportionate inclusion of such measures,” said Edel McGinley, the MRCI director last week.

“These checks have the potential to totally undermine efforts by An Garda Síochána to build positive relations with migrant and ethnic minority communities.”

In a statement to The Journal this afternoon, McGinley said MRCI had written to both the Justice Minister and the Assistant Garda Commission to “seek an explanation and to express our anger and confusion about the inclusion of these checks”.

“We have not heard back from either,” added McGinley.

“Many people have contacted us to tell us how appalled and worried they were by the announcement,” the MRCI director told The Journal.

“We too are very concerned about the increased risk of racial and ethnic profiling and its harmful repercussions.”

McGinley said the MRCI will “continue to seek action from the Minister for Justice to reverse this unjustified initiative and to introduce safeguards against racial and ethnic profiling in policing”.

McGinley added that “many concerned members of the public” have also contacted Minister McEntee on this issue.

“We all want to live in a place where we can feel safe,” said McGinley.

“Safe to walk at night, safe to go to work without fear of harm, safe to be different”.