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    Irish prisoners exempt from deportation

    Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

    Irish prisoners will not be deported upon completion of their sentences, according to a decision announced yesterday by British Home Secretary John Reid. A campaign by the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas and the Irish Government has resulted in the exemption of Irish nationals from the policy, announced last April, of deporting foreign national prisoners.

    The Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas, an Éan member organisation, submitted a dossier of more than 30 inmates with strong family ties in Britain. The organisation estimates that there could be as many as 1,000 Irish prisoners in English and Welsh jails. Grainne Prior of ICPO told the Guardian newspaper that many of the Irish prisoners were fully integrated into English life after living there for years; some had families and some had lost all family ties in Ireland.

    Fr Gerry McFlynn of the London ICPO office said,

    “Many families who contacted the ICPO over the last 9 months have been at their wits end due to the confusion and anxiety around the issue and the continued detention of their loved ones. Today’s statement in bound to bring reassurance and comfort to many”.

    Bishop Seamus Hegarty, chair of the Irish Episcopal Commission for Emigrants, commended the support of the Irish Government in the matter, adding,

    “I wish also to commend the dedication of the staff at the London and Maynooth offices of the ICPO. They have worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome on behalf of Irish prisoners in Britain, and their families. Contemporary migration brings with it the challenge of upholding human dignity while at the same time we respond to our mission to minister to people on the move”.

    Report highlights emigration from NI and Britain

    Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

    More than 2,300 people emigrated from Northern Ireland last year, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research in the UK, as reported in the Belfast Telegraph. The report, ‘Brits Abroad: Mapping the scale and nature of British emigration’, found that 5.5 million people born in the UK are living abroad.

    The most popular destinations and their corresponding number of resident UK natives are as follows:
    Australia – 1,300,000
    Spain – 761,000
    United States – 678,000
    Canada – 603,000
    Republic of Ireland – 291,000
    New Zealand – 215,000
    South Africa – 212,000
    France – 200,000

    Interestingly, the report found that the number of UK citizens moving abroad permanently doubled between 2001 and 2005, from 53,000 to 107,000.

    The newspaper report quoted Dr Patrick Fitzgerald, lecturer at the Centre for Migration Studies, Omagh, on the continuing phenomenon of emigration:

    Our focus on inward migration has overshadowed continued emigration.

    We are getting ‘lifestyle’ migration with people moving in significant levels for warmer weather, cheaper fuel and property, particularly in the Costas of Spain.

    ‘Brain Drain’ is a major issue. Students are still reliant on universities in Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Internal migration can lead to onward migration and a loss of skills to the Northern Ireland economy. People still need to leave Northern Ireland for educational economic and employment reasons, though perhaps not to the extent they did in the seventies and eighties.

    The newspaper queried Queens University students on their feelings about whether they would like to emigrate; many replied that they would consider emigration, with several citing the fact that Northern Ireland is a small place and there would be more job opportunities elsewhere.

    The Institute for Public Policy Research is calling for greater engagement with UK citizens abroad. In the Report’s Executive Summary, it concludes:

    Given the importance of emigration from the UK, this report suggests that UK policymakers should pay more attention to the issue. The UK government should follow the lead of several other countries and engage more with its diaspora. Such engagement would allow the UK to harness the potential of Britons living abroad to promote trade and investment links, develop overseas knowledge networks, and act as cultural ambassadors. More should also be done to promote the political participation of Britons living abroad and to make the most of returning Britons.

    Read the Belfast Telegraph Article.

    The Belfast Telegraph has a fascinating in-depth look at the issue in its “Brits Abroad? section.

    Order “Brits Abroad: Mapping the scale and nature of British emigration? from the Institute for Public Policy Research. You may also download the Executive Summary from there.

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