Ireland opts into controversial EU Migration Pact, stricter immigration measures to be in place

The Dail (Irish Parliament) has voted to opt into the controversial EU Migration and Asylum Pact, paving the way for a standardised immigration control system, including stricter border security checks, across the 27 member states.

The pact, narrowly passed by a thin margin of 79 votes to 72, will come into effect in two years.

As per the agreement, biometric data including fingerprints of migrants above the age of six will be collected. Ireland will have to substantially increase the number of staff processing applications and establish new accommodation centres.

Applications of asylum seekers will be processed within a maximum of 12 weeks. They will be required to return to their home country within the same period if the application gets rejected.

The pact also makes it mandatory for member states to either take in thousands of migrants from “frontline” countries such as Italy, Greece, and Spain or provide funding instead.

Welcoming the move, Ireland’s Minister of Justice, Helen McEntee, said: “This is the best way forward for Ireland & Europe to deal with migration issues together, with faster processing of applications, stronger border security, and faster returns.”

The pact has also attracted criticism, with critics claiming that it is heavy-handed.

Sinn Fein said Ireland must opt out of the majority of its provisions, otherwise the hands of future Irish governments will be tied.

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