‘…here from Eastern Europe ‘for the handouts.’
Varadkar called on to direct Fine Gael to nominate a different candidate.
Sligo News File
Comments of a mayoral candidate who reportedly claimed that the inflow of non-nationals into the country has placed “a major drain on the state” have been branded as ‘racist.’
Now the pressure is growing to have the councillor’s nomination for the mayoralty of the city rescinded.
The burst of political activity came after Stephen Keary apparently remarked at a meeting that people had come here from Eastern Europe “for the handouts.”
According to media sources, Cllr. Keary, the father-in-law of junior minister Patrick Donovan, said Ireland was known as “the home for the handouts,” and that the “influx” of non-nationals has placed “a major drain on the state” in relation to social housing and hospital waiting lists.
The view is not exceptional in parts of the country, but in Limerick, an emotional boil over in some leftist groups has seen the councillor’s comments branded as “racist.”
It appears to have upset some interests that a public representative would speak out as Keary has done, and also stating that welfare recipients from Eastern Europe see Ireland as “easy pickings.” Keary, an engineer and farmer, has apologised. However, there seems to be no assuaging the anger his observations are said to have aroused.
A petition has been started calling on Taoiseach of Indian origin Leo Varadkar to intervene and direct his party to nominate a different candidate for the mayoralty.
Locally, a newspaper report states that a few Eastern European residents have written to local councillors asking them to reject Keary’s mayoral bid.
However, Keary, while apologising, has said he did not intend his remarks to cause offence. He has indicated that he expects both his party and Fianna Fail to support his nomination.
Last March, a newspaper report revealed that Ireland is at present doling out millions in child welfare benefits to families living in European states.
The payment is made to citizens of European Union states working here who have kids living back in their home countries.
According to the report, 7,938 children currently receive the payments. The payouts have rocketed from €11.85 million overall in 2014 to €13.27 million in 2016.
Poland appears to be the biggest beneficiary. Families of over 4,500 children receive €140 per month from the Irish government – the highest welfare rate in Poland is €30.
Ireland also reputedly supports hundreds of children in Romania and Latvia with payments of €140 per month. The monthly welfare rate in Romania is just €19; in Latvia, it is only marginally more than €34.
The government, says the report, also pays out huge welfare benefits for nearly 2,000 children in the UK.
Currently upwards of 28,000 illegal or undocumented migrants live and work in Ireland.
It is believed that the number of children and young people born in Ireland to parents illegally on Irish soil is as high as 5,000.