Speech by Minister of State James Browne TD at UN International Migration Review Forum 

I welcome the opportunity to join with so many countries at this first international migration review forum, to reaffirm our commitment to working together in international partnership on migration, one of the most significant global issues we face. 

 

Ireland played a key role, with our Jordanian friends, in facilitating the New York Declaration in 2016 that led to the Global Compacts on Migration and on Refugees.

 

Our world is very different now, but the purposes and aims of these agreements are more relevant than ever today. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused suffering for millions of refugees and internally displaced people. Ireland is proud to join others in welcoming and supporting those affected by this, the latest example of a conflict forcing people to flee their homes and countries. 

 

Last month, we held a successful Diaspora Summit in Ireland, concluding with the adoption by Ministers of the “Dublin Declaration”, a future agenda of action for global diaspora engagement. As a country with strong ties to our own diaspora, Ireland is glad to have facilitated this event.

 

Migration, both inward and outward, has had a profound effect on Ireland and our history. We recognise the unique and significant contributions made by those who come to our shores from other nations, including the role that migrants have played in supporting our economic growth through their hard workskills and talents.  

 

Throughout the pandemic, migrants have worked in key areas of our economy, especially in the health service, and delivered essential services in our communities. Their work has been vital to the effective management of the public health crisis.  

 

In turn, Ireland has taken action to provide safety, security and peace of mind to those living in the State by automatically extending immigration permissions on nine separate occasions, ensuring that no one has fallen out of permission during these extraordinary times. 

 

We also moved swiftly to reassure people that they could access healthcare, including vaccinations, and temporary payments during the pandemic, regardless of their immigration status. This has, I believe, strengthened our vaccine take-up rate which is among the strongest in the world.

 

Recently, Ireland introduced a landmark, once in a generation, scheme for the regularisation of long-term undocumented migrants in the State. On 31 January 2022, the scheme opened for six months. It enables those who have been living in Ireland for a specified number of years - in many cases contributing to the economy - but who may have been hindered by their undocumented status, to apply to regularise their immigration permission. The scheme has clear benefits for the individuals and their families, but also for the State itself. The scheme was designed after listening carefully to the needs of the people affected and allows successful applicants to engage fully in Irish society, including in the labour market, with increased opportunities for labour mobility and progression. Furthermore, this participation and opportunities to thrive will empower people to contribute more effectively to their countries of origin. 

 

Ireland welcomes the ongoing focus on legal migration at EU level and the continued opportunities to work together to create sustainable regular pathways for migration. International migration will continue to present challenges and opportunities into the future. As we explore these issues, the Compact provides a clear framework to manage all aspects of migration.  Ireland will continue to support its full implementation. 

 

Ends