Statement by Cllr Brian Collins, TUV Braid:
“There is an air of unreality about the migrant debate. I am most surprised to see this issue raised in Council, as, quite frankly, it is not an issue that can be resolved in Council.
“Firstly we cannot allow emotion to dictate our immigration policy, be that the anti-immigrant sentiment which sometimes manifests itself in the most unpleasant way or the reverse which argues that we should simply open our borders regardless of the consequences.
“It is vital that proper border controls are maintained. It would be irresponsible for the UK Government – and let’s not forget that is who will be making the decision here , not the Council, – to throw open the doors to everyone coming from Islamic State controlled territory.
“This is such an emotive subject that if you dare to ask questions that in other circumstances would be objective and reasonable you run the risk of being vilified for daring to raise those subjects and being painted as someone who is, in fact, heartless. However, there are questions which must to be asked. Are all those whom we see on our screens truly refugees? There seems to be a lot of young men. I think that we need to distinguish the necessity for our humanitarian response from a genuine refugee situation, which, in international law, is met in the country where the refugee first arrives.
“It is also worth pointing out that the United Kingdom Government in the last four years have contributed more than any other European state in humanitarian aid — £920 million.
“Given that the UK is still recovering from the economic crash and essential services such as health remain under pressure there will be many people who will ask about the worthy causes on which taxpayer’s money could have been spent closer to home.”