Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Czechoslovak Nationals in Ireland.

Thursday, 30 April 1970

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 246 No. 3

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9.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  asked the Minister for Justice the number of nationals from Czechoslovakia at present in this State; the length and purpose of their stay; and whether permission to remain in Ireland is subject to non-engagement in political activities.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  The number of Czechoslovak nationals resident in the State at present, excluding children under 16 years of age, is 20. All are subject to a time-limit of either six months or one year at a time but the residence permit may be renewed. The periods of residence to date range from seven months to nearly five years.

The group includes two trade representatives, seven in professions or trades, three students and the wives of those I have mentioned.

As in the case of aliens of other nationalities, no prohibition has been imposed on their engaging in political activity and the question of such a prohibition would not arise unless it were shown that there was a sufficient justification [402] for imposing it in a particular case.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  Would the Minister agree that where two persons purporting to be trade representatives endeavoured to interfere with the activities of an Irish-Czechoslovakian society the members of which are concerned with promoting cultural relations between the two countries, it would be undesirable to continue the residence permits of the persons engaged in such activities?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  This is a very sensitive area and perhaps the least said about it at present the better.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  Accepting that it is a sensitive matter, would the Minister not consider that on that account it is all the more undesirable that any persons should be allowed to act in a way prejudicial to the interests of this country and the interests of refugees from the régime in Czechoslovakia?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  Yes, but we have a reasonable tradition of liberty in this country.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  Which we should not permit to be endangered by undesirable activities of aliens.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  That is a very objective matter.


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