A group of Afghan asylum seekers vowed today to starve themselves to death unless they are allowed to remain in Ireland despite Justice Minister Michael McDowell’s insistence that they cannot stay.
Thirty-three men began refusing food and water at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin yesterday afternoon and were joined by eight others today. They insisted they will die one by one unless they are granted political asylum.
Interestingly enough at the time of writing the only party to release a press release (or to be more precise a press release picked up on the Party News section of this site) was Sinn Fein. Now we all know Sinn Fein’s lover affair with the political diet.( Just Spotted the Green Party have as well.)
First things first whether or not they have a valid claim to stay in this country and personally I think they probably should be aloud to remain. I think that Michael McDowell has no option but to deport them. Recently in the UK a group of terrorist who Hi-jacked a plane were granted asylum. This was a disastrous move. The message that this sends out that all someone has to do is hi-jack a plane and you will get asylum. This will not be the last case of people doing this.
Also if this hunger protest in St Patrick’s Cathedral wins then it will not be the last time people go on hunger strike to get asylum. Thus McDowell has really no option but not to capitulate. Now I know many people are saying that I am evil for saying this but the government can not give into blackmail and this is what this is emotional blackmail. McDowell said “We don’t deal with people in the lump so to speak, we deal with every individual case” and this is how asylum applications should be dealt with.
In it’s press release Sinn Fein bring in the usual indymedia type American bashing “There is a puppet regime in place that has no control over the vast bulk of the country”. As McDowell said “I would just ask the public to bear in mind that although there are disturbances in Afghanistan, that doesn’t mean that anybody has the right to come and live in Ireland,” . The Green Party also join in the West bashing ““Ironically the men are sitting on pews under the regimental flags of Irish Regiments that under English command wreaked havoc in Afghanistan and contributed to the instability that continues today.” (They could have as easily said that one guy is wearing a red jacket which is the colour of the soviet’s who terrorised the Afgan people. But like the Green’s and Sinn Fein’s bashing points it is not relevant.) But when Sinn Fein say “The cases of these protesters needs to be looked at again.” They may well be right but it should not be due to the fact that these people are on hunger strike. Indeed that should be a black mark against them. The asylum process in this country probably is flawed. But the process must be adhered to and blackmail not tolerated.
The minister needs to deport these people promptly before we have dead bodies on the TV. This I know sounds cruel but the alternative is worse. If they are granted how many other asylum seeker will start straving themselves. There is no nice outcome’s to this. Now I am sure many people well come out with Herr McDowell posters soon and that issue will play well with Indymedia. But it will be interesting to see how it plays with the electrorate at large.
It is also happening in Belgium.
Update: Someone questioned my point on the British Asylum case.
Please stick to the facts when discussing this issue - this topic is too important to tolerate sloppiness with the truth. From Sunday's Observer: "The hijackers' convictions were deemed 'unsafe' and overturned in 2003. A year later, their asylum claim - that they faced mortal danger from vengeful Taliban forces - was upheld. In the eyes of the law, these men were free, so the High Court found that the government had no right summarily to remove them."