Let's take this one slowly.
I'm out in the pub tonight, meeting an old friend I haven't seen in quite some time.
'I read this racist blog', he tells me. 'Skinflicks', it's called.'
He goes on to tell me how he was stunned by what this blog had to say about asylum seekers.
I was in turn stunned that he thought this blog was racist.
So to clarify, I'm not going to give it the old 'some of my best friends' argument, because frankly, that's not really important. Instead, let me simply remind everyone that I've been arguing for a new asylum system for years.
In that pro-active system, I've argued that we as a nation should send planes out to known warzones and patriate people who demonstrably deserve asylum, as defined by local NGOs, especially Irish ones like Goal and Trocaire.
I'd also add that the Department of Justice themselves have stated that the vast majority of asylum seekers from certain countries, especially Nigeria, are lying. IE They were refused asylum on first application. This isn't surprising, since Nigeria is an affluent African country which is not at war with itself or anywhere else. Sure, it has problems. So do we.
We cannot afford to accommodate all people who earn less than we do, and the asylum system was set up to save people from death, not provide a new life for those who earn less than we do.
I'd love to see Aer Lingus planes bringing people from the Congo, from Afghanistan to Ireland so that we could offer them asylum. What I didn't love was us accepting in fraudsters from the Nigerian middle class who burnt their passports at Heathrow or on the plane as asylum seekers.
I didn't love us accepting asylum seekers who subsequently got elected mayor of their adopted town in Ireland and returned to Nigeria for a ticker tape parade, when they had told Irish authorities that their life was at risk if they ever went back.
Now we have no spare money. Now the tidal wave of economic migrants has dried up. Now we can and should implement a proper asylum policy that actually offers asylum to those deserving it. There's sadly no shortage of such people. We have NGOs all over the world. We can find no end of them. Let's help them, the people who actually need and deserve it.
Because it is, in my opinion, frankly immoral to pose as an asylum seeker if you are actually an economic migrant. It is immoral to pretend to be at risk of death or torture when that is not the case, just to gain access to free housing, education and benefits. Those are provided for people whose lives were genuinely at risk, and those who claim for it fraudulently are eroding our ability to help those who really need the help.
I'm not against an asylum policy at all. I just wish we had a proper functioning one, because so far, we never have. I just wish that we had a system that allowed economic migrants to enter and live in and support Ireland on Ireland's terms, rather than a system that drove them to pose as asylum seekers.
That's where I'm coming from. I was sad to hear that my position wasn't clear to at least one reader. Hopefully now I've clarified what I mean.