On the 20th July last, I spoke in the Seanad about the case of Paloma Silva-Carvalho, a Brazilian woman who was detained by the Gardaí and sent to the Mountjoy women’s prison — despite having legally entered the country. She had previously worked as an au pair in Galway. As the law stands, a Brazilian national may visit this country without a visa for up to 90 days. So what prompted the actions of the Gardaí?
Immigration is a difficult and complex matter and I have a lot of sympathy for those responsible for deciding when and how people can enter this country at a time when millions are in misery and thousands are desperate to reach our shores. But the least we can offer people trying to come to our country — whether they’re coming on holidays or trying to make a better life for themselves — is that the law be clear and its enforcement humane.
It is worrying that a nod-and-wink nastiness might have crept into our immigration control and I will be pressing this issue on the resumption of the Seanad to see how exactly the law is being enforced, whether there are other cases like that of Ms Silva-Carvalho and what the Department of Justice is going to do about this.
You can read my Seanad comments at this link.