I have every sympathy for those poor wretches who find themselves stuck on a muddy roundabout in the middle of an M50 interchange. But one has to ask: what on earth were they doing there? The question is not to them - who took the tough decision to leave their homeland and who are evidently not the best equipped to undertake such a voyage. The question rather is to our State and Government.
What cretin came up with the idea that we should allow Romanians and Bulgarians to come here freely but not to work? It is true that logic and reason rarely feature in Immigration policies anywhere, but this policy is surely an insane recipe for disaster. Either come here and you can work, or don't come at all.
Most EU countries put a brake on the invasion of Eastern Europeans from the 10 states in 2004. Ireland, the UK,and I think Sweden, did not. These three countries were fortunate in that their economies were strong. Had they not been, no doubt things would have been different.
Few would deny that for the most part, the result has been beneficial thus far - though these complex matters often take time to reveal their true impact. Nevertheless, even now, the British seem to have lost track of the total number of immigrants that have arrived on their shores, and public support for the open door policy is ebbing away rapidly. The same might well happen here, actually is bound to happen here, for our record in the old admin department is rather shaky (if we can't maintain voting registers and constituency lists, what hope of tracking a huge flow of immigrants).
No matter. Back to the Romanians. If we think we have opened our borders enough for the time being - and who can argue that we haven't taken our fair share - then we should simply refuse to admit more Romanians or Bulgarians. We need time to bed down the immigrants we have very rapidly acquired in huge numbers.
Some will cry about the Roma fleeing persecution. That is Rubbish. The latest Amnesty report on that Region - Albania, to Bulgaria, to Southern Russia, has precious little to say about Romania. Yes the Roma are discriminated against, but that hardly amounts to persecution. If they face discrimination let our political ambassadors in the EU exert pressure on Romania to clean up their act.
Others say the EU is based on freedom to travel. Indeed it is. And that should apply to our Eastern friends too - but only after a time. Only after their membership drags their economies and administrations to maturity so that their people will not flee to their rich neighbours by the million. When this latter happens, the biggest losers are in fact the countries which are deprived of their cleverest and hardest working sons and daughters. Already Poland is waking up to the fact that this very phenomenon has produced a crippling brain drain. Same in Latvia.
So please, Taoiseach, Minister for Justice, undo this policy of free entry but no work, for it is appallingly stupid. We are only beginning to see where it leads. If it continues we are guaranteed more mud huts and misery in our hedges, and in all likelihood, the emergence of a vast black market in labour.