Many NI parents fear immigration will impact on jobs for their children


Northern Ireland is not the immigration backwater many here suppose.

Since 2000, 137,950 national insurance cards and numbers have been issued to foreign born workers.

This needs to be seen in the context of a total workforce of 790,000 and a population of 1,840,000.

The total number of these insurance cards equates to 17 per cent of the workforce.

In addition, since 2000 some 166,333 new medical cards have been issued in Northern Ireland to non-UK nationals.

This equates to almost 10 per cent of the recorded population and points to Northern Ireland being right at the heart of the surge in immigration which has now become a worldwide phenomenon. It is no isolated backwater. These figures all come from the NI Statistics and Research Agency.

The problem does not stop there.

Figures from the Home Office show that 468 people were intercepted in 2014/15, including those who crossed the border with the Irish Republic.

This is up 71 per cent up on the 274 total in 2012/13.

A report by the Organised Crime Task Force notes that the most recent year’s figures for interceptions in Northern Ireland include 30 convicted criminals previously deported from the UK. That is why I called in July for a far more stringent border regime on the UK-Irish Republic border, the UK’s only land border with another state.

This border could well become our migrant frontier needing to be defended by the Westminster government.

We really have to address this issue head on: just how porous is the land border with the Irish Republic?

How many, for instance, are travelling from Cherbourg and Roscoff in France to Rosslare in Ireland and are then crossing the border into Northern Ireland and, from there, crossing easily into Britain?

Why are buses picking up migrants at Sprucefield and driving them to Larne.

Who are these people, who is looking after their well-being, are they packaged like parcels having paid the criminals a fortune for a better future in the UK.

Given these figures, it is easy to understand why so many parents are worried about the impact immigration is having on the number of jobs there are for their children, the number of available school places and the increased queues for their GPs, let alone hospital appointments.

David McNarry MLA, Ukip leader NI, Northern Ireland Assembly