TD for Cork South-West Michael Collins has attacked what he called the government’s “open-door policy on immigration”. As reported in the Southern Star, Collins went on to claim that the country is unable to deal with migration to Ireland due to a lack of finances and appropriate social services. He blamed “political elites” for trying to manipulate people into not debating the issue.
Collins is no stranger to anti-migrant sentiment. In 2019 he insisted we must “Look after our own people first”. He also argued that “we’re losing our culture” because of immigration. Last April Collins also suggested that alt-right outlet Gript should receive state funding.
The TD’s comments appeared as tensions have risen around the issue of refugees being housed in hotels. According to the Southern Star Collins declared that “the government effectively shut down any debate on the financial or social impact of an open-door policy on immigration”. He insisted this was “profoundly disturbing” given the numbers of people on a waiting list for housing. The West Cork TD also highlighted the amount of asylum seekers in the Direct Provision system, telling the paper this was essentially “promotion of a policy that supports unlimited immigration inflow”.
Collins maintained there’s been no debate on the costs associated with this and the “implications to the taxpayer who is ultimately forced to foot the bill”. Instead he asserted that the issue must be “calmly and rationally” debated. But according to Collins, whose wealth is estimated to be €1.7m, this has been difficult because “a loudly manipulative minority of political elites” has tried to “bully people into silence”.
A history of similar claims
This is not the first time that Collins has made similar claims about immigration into Ireland. In September 2019 he jumped to the defence of fellow independent TD Noel Grealish who told attendees at a public meeting that asylum seekers were coming to Ireland to “sponge” off the system. Collins, while calling Grealish’s comments “a bit strong”, said “how are we talking about bringing so many thousand people maybe into this country and providing hotel rooms and everything when we haven’t looked after our own people”. Going on he called on the state to “Look after our own people first”. And he contended that “we’re losing our culture here very, very quickly and people see that time and time again” because of immigration.
Collins has also defended alt-right and conspiracy theory website Gript. Praising John McGuirk’s outlet in the Dáil, the Cork TD said the government should be providing state funding to the website. He attacked RTÉ’s coverage of the Climate Action Bill, describing it as disgraceful. To counter this he suggested that the government redistributes the television licence fee “to other media providers, including Virgin Media, Gript and local radio stations and newspapers”.
Featured image via Oireachtas.ie