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Social welfare garda checks must not involve racial profiling - ICI

The Immigrant Council of Ireland wants Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton to outline safeguards against racial profiling in crackdown on welfare fraud.

Garda checkpoints are being proposed as part of a crackdown on welfare fraud.
Garda checkpoints are being proposed as part of a crackdown on welfare fraud.
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE IMMIGRANT COUNCIL Of Ireland (ICI) is seeking assurances that racial profiling will not form part of the proposed crackdown on social welfare fraud.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton told Pat Kenny on Newstalk this morning that her department will be taking on a number of Gardaí for a period to help catch people illegally claiming benefits.

The Minster said that this would include Gardaí being stationed at airports to monitor people flying in to claim benefits as well as checkpoints being set up at industrial estates to catch people working while claiming.

This afternoon ICI chief executive Denise Charlton said that safeguards muse be put in place to ensure that the checks are implemented fairly and across all communities.

“There is no evidence of social welfare fraud being more prevalent amongst migrant communities, ” she said. “There is no reason why they should be singled out for special treatment as part of the new crackdown announced by Minister Joan Burton.”

As part of the interview, Burton did specifically say that checks at airports would focus on both Irish people and people who came from abroad.

Charlton howver says that the ICI wants the Minister to outline what safeguards will be put in place to prevent racial profiling.

She says that only this week a European Commission study showed that migrants across the union contributed more in taxes that they claim in benefits.

Read: Racial profiling has ‘a discriminatory effect’ and should be prohibited – report >

Read: Racism reporting website sees reports “flood in” >

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Rónán Duffy

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