Ireland’s establishment parties are panicking about the public backlash against mass immigration – but their Europhilia means they are left defenceless

Prime Minister of Ireland Leo Varadkar speaks with the press upon arrival for the European Council. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER MATTHYS


A poll published at the weekend in Dublin shows that a third of people in Ireland would now consider voting for a party or candidate with strong anti-immigration views.

Call that 33 percent and compare it with this. At the last general election in 2020 the two anti-immigration parties took just 0.5 percent of the vote.

The reaction to this poll among establishment parties is, “Holy hell.” Or as they put it in their press statements, “Concern.”

Up until now, the Irish have been striking the pose of sympathetic, welcoming people (“We are not racist Brexit English”), remembering their own national history of emigration.

Ukrainians? Bring ‘em in. Immigrants, illegal and otherwise? There’s plenty of room.

Except now there isn’t.

The housing in Ireland is so scarce and so dear that in Dublin migrants are living in tents strung up along city streets.

In the country the government has leased so many hotels for migrants that local people are infuriated to find hundreds of single, unemployed foreign men dropped into their villages – and their tourist business destroyed because the migrants have taken up the hotels.

The criminal end of the anti-immigrant move has now resorted to arson, burning down buildings that are intended to house migrants.

Holy hell.

The change means the Irish now say they will vote in favour of anti-immigration parties.

In response, the establishment parties in government – up until now, always welcoming “inclusive, multi-cultural” immigration — are promising more staff for closer checking of asylum seekers, and even deportation.

Helen McEntee, the justice minister, promised last week that there will be charter flights for “20 to 30 passengers” a time to deport those who have failed in their applications for asylum.

One thing to believe there, one not.

The justice minister promises to recruit 80 new staff to process applications. Believe that, because any undertaking to increase public sector jobs always happens.

But for the charter flights – forget about it.

Here are my calculations. The cost of a charter flight for 25 people is €16,000 to €18,000 an hour (the charter company promising “utmost comfort” for the passengers).  At the moment, the government admits it wants to deport 5,000 people.

I’d say the figure is going to be much higher than that, but let’s go with 5,000.

If we take the average distance from three possible deportation destinations, Delhi, Rome and Rio de Janeiro, it comes to 3,800 miles. Likely average flight time is eight hours.

Take the charter charge at €17,000 a hour, and one flight would cost €136,000. Plus the cost of security staff to fly onboard and whatever the charter company charges to fly the airplane to home base.

But that is just for 25 deportees. If you calculate how many flights would be needed for the full 5,000, the figure is 200 flights, or €27,200,000. Plus extras.

It is never going to happen, and not just because dropping 27 million on private charter companies will cause outrage. How many houses could be built in Ireland for 27 million?

It is not going to happen because at the moment of boarding, the migrants will put on a show. They will shout, they will tear away from their security guards, who are going to have to be handcuffed to them. One female migrant, in a hijab, will throw herself on the ground and howl.

I guarantee it. I used to work in television current affairs production. I could direct the event myself. Camera phones at the ready and the show will start.

One attempt at that sort of deportation and the charter flights will be cancelled.

If the Irish government does not limit illegal immigration by deportation – and they won’t — here is another way they think they can stop the numbers.

The Irish government has signed up to the EU’s new Pact of Asylum and Immigration. When that kicks in, countries like Ireland can refuse migrants that the EU wants to admit. If they do that, however, the government must pay instead €20,000 a migrant into a special fund controlled by Brussels.

Again, try the 5,000. If another 5,000 are refused entry by the Irish government, that is €100m the government will hand over to Brussels.

Not going to happen. In fact, none of it is going to happen.

The government is panicking into a U-turn on immigration because of the shift in sentiment among voters. The deportation flights and the €20,000 kick-back to the EU fund are just the fancy bits they can talk about.

They cannot advertise what they are really doing.

A veteran politician, Ivan Yates, a former Cabinet minister now retired from politics, last week gave an excellent description in his podcast: “This is the U-turn of all U-turns. I have heard from someone in INIS [Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service] who does interviews that the majority of people fly into Belfast and get down through a porous border. They don’t actually present at a seaport or airport in this jurisdiction.”

That means no papers for the new enlarged numbers of bureaucrats to work with. The migrants just appear with no tag. Ghost migrants.

But within various government departments, such as  justice, welfare, social protection and others, the bureaucrats are supposed to be screwing down on the migrants, paying them less welfare, cooperating less, to save the establishment parties at the next election. They have actually done the biggest U-turn of all, but with no headlines.

The government cannot shout about the screwing down they are doing – though I suggest it will achieve little in cutting numbers – because the EU culture to which Ireland surrendered decades ago insists the government go on about inclusivity and multi-culturalism.

It’s the European way. It is alas the European way among most of the country.

In the end, the Irish have given so much power to Brussels by being “European” that the EU will break them if they actually take steps to stop the vast wave of immigrants into Ireland.

The Irish can be angry, they use arson as a political activity, they can demand that “Ireland is full”. But the EU has the money and the leverage. Ireland will bend. They sold out to the EU years ago.

Maybe they will now start to understand what sovereignty means, and how they don’t have any left.