Artist Sharkey calls for 'open, honest look at immigration'
Prospective presidential candidate Kevin Sharkey has called for an honest, open dialogue on immigration as he outlined some of his views on the subject in a TV interview.
In an appearance on The Ray D'Arcy Show on RTE, the Donegal man (inset) said that he felt people were censoring themselves when it came to the subject of immigration.
Mr Sharkey, an artist and former television presenter, who confirmed that he was hoping to receive a nomination to run for the presidency later this year, spoke at length about the impact of immigration.
When D'Arcy put it to him that his stance was ironic considering his own background, he replied: "My father was an immigrant, there are a lot of positive aspects to immigration but it is going to end up coming down to one thing and that is numbers. We are not a big country and in 20 years' time, at the rate we are going, we have places in Ireland now where there are people who are feeling they no longer have a choice, no longer have a say.
"I'm not against immigration. If you are contributing, if you have a trade that we need and you can support yourself, you are welcome.
"We should have an honest, open dialogue about it without being shut down and called racist. We have a history of being generous and kind, we have a history of helping people and sometimes word gets out.
"I've seen the effect of the good and the bad sides of immigration, you know, how it helps a country to grow and develop. And also how sometimes it puts a strain on the resources.
"We are a very small country and I have spent a long time wondering at what point do we say 'we need to start looking after Irish people as a priority'."
Mr Sharkey went on to say that he believed that the priorities in Ireland had to change. "People talk about the housing crisis in Ireland. I don't think it is so much of a housing crisis, I think it is a priority crisis," he said.
He said he decided to run as he "thought it was time to do something for Ireland".