Fiannas leader Micheál Martin has said he will not support any changes to immigration rules that could affect the EU’s refugee quota system.
The comments come after the European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos proposed changes in the rules which could see a rise in the number of migrants arriving in the country.
Mr Avramos proposed an increase in the quotas of the European Union’s refugee quotas for the first three years after the Brexit vote to meet the EU quota requirement of providing €60m in relocation aid to those fleeing war and persecution.
Speaking at the weekend, Mr Martin said that, “we are not in favour of this, that would be bad for the Irish economy.
We would not be able to cope with that kind of pressure”.”
We are not against it, we just want to see some clear direction,” he added.
Mr Martin has previously said that he would support the current system which sees the European Migration Agency’s quota system apply to all EU member states.
“I am not against quotas, I am against quotas that are not based on the needs of the people coming to Ireland,” he said in 2015.
The Fiannah party has previously voiced its opposition to the European quota system, saying it would “further inflame sectarian and ethnic tensions in the region” and that it would be “an extremely difficult issue” to deal with.
Mr Brendan Howlin, Fiannas deputy leader, said he would be open to discussing further changes to a system that was already “problematic”.
“I will be open-minded to suggestions about how to make the quota system work better and fairer and I think that is what the Government should be doing,” he told The Irish Sun.
“It is a difficult issue.
I would be interested in discussions around how to address it, but I would prefer to see it addressed in a way that has a good balance between people who are fleeing war, persecution and persecution.”
Mr Howlin said that the EU should be “rethinking” the system, which he called a “bad joke”.
“The European Commission is a very bad joke,” he warned.