Sinn Féin’s North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan has said British Immigration proposals will damage the North’s economy and the North Antrim constituency will suffer more than most.
The comments were made in response to British Home Office proposals announced this morning that would overhaul immigration policy in the north of Ireland from 2021.
Mr McGuigan said:
“The North Antrim economy depends heavily on the hospitality, tourism, retail, and agri-food sectors and in many cases these industries are heavily reliant on foreign workers. Far from strengthening the economic well being of our society, these proposals are a direct threat to local industry.
“Indeed most worryingly, these proposals are a cruel attack on our care sector – the wonderful, selfless heroes who we all rely on to take care of us and our families in our hour of need.
“Sinn Féin, other political parties, and the local business community have been arguing our unique and special circumstances here in the North and that immigration is a net contributor to our economy. Once again though the British Government are intent on ignoring the voice of the North with regard to Brexit. This policy has shown nothing but contempt for local business and industry leaders.
“Sinn Féin will be raising these concerns directly with the British Government in the weeks to come.”
In response to the above, Mark Brown, a former leader of the NI National Front, said “The SF notion that N.I is ‘heavily dependent’ on largely economic migrant workers would in fact be an ingredient for social change in itself, but only if it were true.
Labour Force Survey (LFS) reports show N.I unemployment rate was below the UK rate of 3.8% (October – December 2019) the latter quarter of the year. Inactivity rate or those not in full-time employment had tappered off by 0.1% to one of the lowest recorded rates over the year by 25.8%, but sank yet again to 2.4% (October – December). In 2019, employment rates in N.I increased in stark contrast to the R. O. I where unemployment grew to a staggering 4.8% and the big tent EU greater yet again by 6.3% (October – December 2019).
I would want to know how many Romanians in Ballymena or Syrian planters in our own Borough is graduate nurses, paramedics, midwife, radiographers, care worker’s or physio. Because there is a labour shortage in each field respectively in N. I and the UK. The stagnation in pay, below the inflation rate will not give any indigenous family any type of security whatsoever in hospitality, tourism, agri-foods or local factories. Forcing many indigenous households to resort to looking for government help or Universal credit.
It has got a reflexive habit lying to the tax payer both in N. I and the R O. I by Sinn Fein. Afterall they supported a pay freeze in the health service, they denied vital service providers an honest wage in a critical role. They have forced foriegn economic migrants into the ruralist parts of R. O. I under EU guidelines, carving-out a new Irish, is this what SF wants for North Antrim? Rather than spur on local people or support an initiative to supply local firms with a local work force, should this not be being a true ‘patriot’ be touching on rather than steer away from?”