Migration row continues as UK 'offers' Ireland involvement in Rwanda scheme

Migration Row Continues As Uk 'Offers' Ireland Involvement In Rwanda Scheme
The Government is likely to take a dim view of the British government's 'offer'. Photo: Getty Images
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James Cox

Amid heightening diplomatic tensions between Dublin and London, the UK government will 'offer' Ireland the chance to join its deeply controversial Rwanda migrant deportation scheme, according to reports in the British press.

The Telegraph, which often publishes stories backing the Conservative government, claimed Downing Street was "open to exploring Ireland’s participation in the scheme after Irish ministers blamed the deterrent effect of deportation to Rwanda for the surge in asylum seekers arriving in Dublin from Britain".


Minister for Justice Helen McEntee recently claimed up to 80 per cent of asylum seekers were crossing the border from Northern Ireland, which UK prime minister Rishi Sunak claimed was a sign that his Rwanda scheme is working.

While Ms McEntee "stands over" the figure, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has said it wasn't "statistical".

Taoiseach Simon Harris has pointed to an “operational agreement” which provides for the reciprocal return of asylum seekers between the UK and Ireland, but Downing Street has said it contains no legal obligations to accept them.

UK prime minister Rishi Sunak said he was “not interested” in a returns deal if the European Union did not allow the UK to send back asylum seekers who had crossed the English Channel from France.

Officials warned McEntee two years ago that UK's R...
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Mr Harris, who pointed out that there were upcoming elections in the UK, stressed the “importance of countries upholding agreements”.

The Telegraph quoted a Downing Street source as saying: “If the Irish government believes the Rwanda plan is already having an effect, we can explore Ireland joining the Rwanda scheme. Many countries are looking at a third country now, which is why Sir Keir Starmer’s amnesty for 115,000 illegal immigrants a year is so shortsighted.”

The UK local elections, which Mr Harris mentioned, took place on Thursday, and early indications suggest bad results for Mr Sunak's Conservative Party.

The Government is likely to take a dim view of the British government's 'offer', with no chance of Ireland considering involvement in the Rwanda scheme.

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