Ireland should join the UK in sending illegal migrants to Rwanda, No. 10 has suggested. (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)


‘Ireland should also send migrants to Rwanda,’ UK Government suggests


Ireland should join the UK in sending illegal migrants to Rwanda, the British Government has suggested.

Relations between the two nations have deteriorated in recent weeks over migration, with Dublin blaming a recent spike in asylum arrivals over the country’s Northern border on the Rwanda scheme.

While Downing Street has rejected any notion it would take migrants travelling from the UK to Ireland back unless other EU Member States – such as France – agreed to do the same for those travelling to Britain, it has now suggested Ireland could join its Rwanda deportation scheme to curb arrivals.

“If the Irish Government believes the Rwanda plan is already having an effect, we can explore Ireland joining the Rwanda scheme,” the UK Government said, before taking aim at opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer’s plan to axe the scheme.

The proposal has provoked anger in Dublin, with many politicians accusing London of posturing ahead of a crucial set of local elections, which took place on May 2.

Speaking on the UK state-owned broadcaster the BBC, Irish Government TD (MP) Lisa Chambers berated the offer, calling the Rwanda policy “cruel”.

“Ireland, as a member of the European Union, we deal with migration at an EU level,” she said, adding that the UK’s deportation plan was “morally wrong”.

“We’re not interested.”

The controversy has stirred more unrest within the Irish political system, already reeling from a surge in illegal migration over the past two years.

In the country’s Parliament, Ireland’s Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Micheál Martin was left verbally sparring with opposition representatives, whom he accused of parroting the “right-wing Tory media”.

“You could not make it up really,” he said, addressing a comment from one senior progressive politician. “A left-wing Deputy like himself invoking the right-wing Tory press to attack the Irish Government and the Deputy is taking The Daily Telegraph seriously.”

“Ah stop, go away,” a different opposition TD interjected. “Who are you codding [kidding]?”

Documents uncovered by local media have shown that the country’s Minister for Justice Helen McEntee was warned back in 2022 that the Rwanda plan could have a negative impact on Ireland’s migration situation.

Ireland is also facing a growing protest movement against the installation of migrants into various towns and cities, with it becoming a common occurrence for locals to set up blockades to prevent the arrival of asylum seekers.

Sometimes referred to as “plantations” – a reference to Ireland’s history of being violently settled by English and Scottish migrants in the 16th and 17th centuries – some of the protests have turned violent.

Arson attacks on buildings earmarked, or believed to have been earmarked, to house migrants have also become increasingly common, with over a dozen suspected attempts being reported since the start of 2023.