Fintan O’Toole (May 1st) is right when he asserts that we should discuss immigration in this election, and our responsibilities to the more than 10 per cent of the population who do not have a vote, but contribute significantly to our prosperity.
Indeed, unless we face up to the implications of not properly investing resources in facilitating their integration into Irish society, we will have massive problems when the inevitable downswing in the economic cycle comes. The new Irish will not all go back to where they came from, and it is outrageous of some politicians even to suggest that, implying “we” have nothing to worry about by ignoring their rights.
We in Trust work with people who become homeless and the failure to invest even small amounts in innovative initiatives to help people on the margins to integrate into Irish society is causing considerable human suffering and indeed tragedy. Growing numbers of people, though it is consistently denied by official sources, from the new EU accession states are finding themselves homeless and organisations like ourselves are fully stretched trying to cope.
Many simply run out of money and with nowhere to stay they end up on the streets. Again, it is important to remember, despite the humiliations they are forced to endure many are not going home, and if we help them, a good number can succeed.
One proposal we have been pushing for some time would make a major difference and that is the provision of public shower facilities in Dublin. Giving people the facility to wash when they run out of money and are forced out of their accommodation will prevent many from spending a long time on the streets.
ALICE LEAHY, Director, Bride Road, Trust, Dublin 8.