Irish Defence and Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin sees migrants preferring Ireland over the UK after the Rwanda plans move forward. EPA-EFE/ZAIN JAAFAR / POOL


UK’s Rwanda Bill ‘causing migrants to opt for Ireland’, claims Irish Deputy PM


The tightening of asylum policies in the UK is causing ripple effects in Ireland as the threat of being deported to Rwanda spurs migrants to seek refuge in the Emerald Isle.

Micheál Martin, Irish Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, told The Telegraph more than 80 per cent of asylum seekers to Ireland came from the UK after London moved forward on the Rwanda Bill.

Martin said the policy was already “impacting on Ireland” as people were “fearful” of staying in the UK, adding that “maybe that’s the impact it was designed to have”.

He said asylum seekers were seeking “to get sanctuary here and within the European Union as opposed to the potential of being deported to Rwanda”.

According to the Irish Government, migrants leave Britain via Northern Ireland and cross the land-border with Ireland, which is always open as stipulated by a UK-EU Brexit treaty.

The new influx comes as Ireland is already struggling with record numbers of arrivals.

More than 140,000 immigrants came to in Ireland in the year to April 2023  – a 16-year-high and 50 per cent higher than the year before.

Social tensions and violence in Ireland have risen, some say as a result of the mass migration. In one incident in November last year, a man with a migrant background stabbed several people, including three children, leading to large-scale riots across Dublin.

The public’s response has been mixed. Ireland’s more progressive-leaning individuals pointed the finger at the “far-right”.

Others expressed annoyance at the framing of the night’s violence. X-owner Elon Musk described the focus on the “far-right” in the wake of the attack as “insane”.

Ireland is also struggling with a housing shortage that has impacted both those seeking asylum and its own citizens.

The Government claimed the EU Migration Pact will provide the necessary solutions.

Martin noted there are millions of displaced people, some from Ukraine and Sudan, in many nations and that “the sort of knee-jerk reaction like the Rwanda policy, in my view, isn’t going to really do anything to deal with the issue”.

The Irish Government wants the border between the UK and Ireland to remain “invisible”, thus avoiding the installation of related infrastructure such as checkpoints.

“This is the challenge that we have, that we have advocated for an open border on this island,” Helen McEntee, the Irish justice minister, said, The Telegraph noted. “It is absolutely a challenge,” she said.

Across the water in Britain, Tory MPs said the Irish situation proved the Rwanda policy was bearing fruit.

A source close to James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, said: “The message of the Rwanda partnership is ‘if you want to come to the UK, and you do so illegally, you will not get to stay in the UK’. That is the point of a deterrent.”

Richard Tice, the Reform UK party leader, referring to the Brexit deal on the Irish Sea border, sniped: “Oh, the irony of the Irish Republic whining about the very border arrangement they insisted upon with the Protocol.

“Truth is, as usual, Irish leaders blame Brexit for all their own failings.”

On April 25, French President Emmanuel Macron also denounced the British Rwanda move, labelling it as the politics of “cynicism” and a betrayal of European values, adding it would be “ineffective”.