The Minister for Justice, John O'Donoghue, has defended his record in dealing with the issue of asylum seekers, and accused the Opposition parties of having no coherent policy in this area. Mr O'Donoghue was responding to a motion of no confidence in him in the Dáil this evening.

Proposing the motion, Labour's Brendan Howlin said that, after two and a half years, there was no excuse for the Minister's failure to develop a humane approach to immigration. He said that by voting against the motion, Government deputies would be sharing responsibility for the Minister's policies, a point which he said was particularly relevant to PD Junior Minister Liz O'Donnell. Fine Gael's Jim Higgins said that with chaos in the prison system, indecision on asylum seekers and industrial relations problems within the Gardaí, there was a widespread perception that this Minister was not up to the job.

In response, Minister O'Donoghue defended his record but acknowledged the need to provide more resources to deal with the volume of asylum applications. Stressing the need for sensible immigration laws, he challenged the opposition parties to state their policies. The vote on the motion will take place tomorrow night.