No. 57 NAI DT S11007A

Memorandum by Maurice Moynihan
'Admission of refugees from the Continent
Discussion at Government Meeting, 14th Dec., 1945'

Dublin, 15 December 1945

The Taoiseach read a memorandum which he had received from the Department of External Affairs referring particularly to the question of the admission of Poles.1

With regard to the admission of Polish children the general feeling appeared to be that we should be prepared to accept greater numbers of children than had hitherto been contemplated. This view appeared to apply to children of other nationalities than Polish.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce intimated that he had no objection to the admission of persons with special qualifications or students coming to do University courses even if they were likely to remain here indefinitely after securing professional qualifications.

There appeared to be a disposition among the members of the Government generally to agree to accept about 20 Poles as University students at a cost to the State of say, £250 a year for each student. It was suggested, however, by the Minister for Industry and Commerce that the courses which such students should take should be specified. As examples the Minister mentioned Engineering and Science. It was thought that the number of 20 should be regarded as a tentative figure and that this question should be examined, regard being had to difficulties in connection with professions already crowded.

As to the admission of persons in a position to support themselves or to be supported by relatives or friends abroad, the point was raised as to what precisely was meant by ability to support themselves. For example, in what currency would the assets of such people be held? It was emphasised that in any event undesirable persons should not be admitted. The question of the period for which the means of such persons would be sufficient to support them was also raised.

The view was taken that the question of the establishment of a Polish Institute should be further examined with the greatest care even if it could be shown that the objects of such an Institute would be purely cultural. Alternative suggestions were the establishment of a Polish adjunct to a University College such as University College, Galway, and the endowment of Chairs with a view to the instruction of Polish students in St. Patrick's College, Maynooth.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce pointed out that it would be no advantage to allow an alien to come into this country if his maintenance were likely to become immediately a charge on the Public Assistance Authorities. The Minister also referred to the importance of examining the question of the admission of aliens from the point of view of employment.

Generally, it was felt that a liberal attitude should be adopted. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said that he would be in favour of a liberal policy on a highly selective basis.

It was decided that the Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice should discuss further the various questions relating to the admission of aliens with representatives of the Departments of External Affairs, Industry & Commerce and Justice, with a view to laying down lines of policy on the basis of which specific proposals could be prepared by the Departments referred to acting in consultation.

1 Not printed.

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