Ireland: Church refuses to give asylum

Irish police removed Afghan asylum seekers on Saturday from a Dublin church where they had staged a 7-day hunger strike, state broadcaster RTE reported.

Some 40 hunger strikers, who said their lives would be in danger if they were sent back to Afghanistan, began a sit-in at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Sunday to press their demand to be allowed to stay in Ireland as refugees.

Unlike the situation in Belgium, where Church officials are openly saying they are willing to give asylum to anybody who enters their Church and inviting asylum seekers to come in, the Church of Ireland Archbishop thinks differently:

Church of Ireland Archbishop John Neill says St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin is not an appropriate place for a hunger protest by refugees from Afghanistan.

Forty-one Afghans entered the Anglican church Sunday and began refusing food and water to avoid being deported to Afghanistan, where they claim their lives would be in danger.

While Neill said Monday he would not ask the refugees to leave, he also doubted there is a sanctuary right in modern-day Ireland.

"That was something that was there in ancient times," the archbishop told Web site Ireland On-Line.
St. Patrick's Cathedral is "not an appropriate place for them to be because it is not a place with proper facilities," Neill said.

Source: Reuters, (English)

See also: Vatican supports Belgian illegal immigrants, Belgium: Illegal immigrant actions

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