RACISM ROW AFTER 7 SECONDS STAR IS HELD FOR 4 HOURS; Singer in airport visa ordeal.
Byline: PAUL CLARKSON
IMMIGRATION immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. checks were blasted as "racist" yesterday after singer Youssou N'Dour Youssou N'Dour IPA: [jusun̩ˈduːʀ] (born October 1, 1959 in Dakar) is a Senegalese singer and percussionist. was held for FOUR hours at Dublin Airport Dublin Airport (IATA: DUB, ICAO: EIDW), or Aerfort Bhaile Átha Cliath in Irish, is operated by the Dublin Airport Authority plc. Located in Collinstown, in the Fingal part of County Dublin, it is by far the busiest airport in Ireland and is ranked as 14th .
The African star nearly missed his gig at the Red Box in Dublin after officials almost refused to let him into Ireland.
N'Dour, 43, - famous for his hit 7 Seconds with Neneh Cherry - was stopped as he got off a flight from London on Monday night.
By the time officials had passed the Senegalese singer's visa papers he was more than an hour late.
The Green Party yesterday said the fiasco was "indefensible" and accused immigration officials of racism.
Spokesman Ciaran Cuffe demanded an apology from Justice Minister Michael McDowell For other persons named Michael McDowell, see Michael McDowell (disambiguation).
Michael McDowell (Irish: Mícheál Mac Dubhghaill; and said: "We must have a full explanation why an internationally renowned singer was treated like this.
"It's an embarrassment and it is not the first time this has happened.
"Many African artists have suffered the same fate.
"This case has all the appearances of racial profiling The consideration of race, ethnicity, or national origin by an officer of the law in deciding when and how to intervene in an enforcement capacity.
Police officers often profile certain types of individuals who are more likely to perpetrate crimes. . It appears if you are not from the EU you will have problems passing immigration.
"We must review immigration criteria and the methods used for screening visitors to Ireland."
Phillip Watt, director of racism watchdog NCCRI, said: "You would think common sense would have prevailed in this case.
"It sends out a very negative image to the world when such an international star is put through this.
"They may have been following the strict letter of the law but we should be more flexible at times."
N'Dour has sold millions of records in a career spanning four decades.
His duet with Neneh Cherry reached number two in 1994.
He has also worked with Peter Gabriel and was hailed as the African Artist of the Century in 1999.
He had just played a number of gigs in England as part of a European tour.
A Department of Justice spokesman refused to comment on criticism over the handling of the affair. The fiasco was sorted out when Fianna Fail TD Eoin Ryan Eoin Ryan (born February 24, 1953) is an Irish Fianna Fáil politician. He is a Member of the European Parliament for Dublin and is a former Teachta Dála (TD) for Dublin South East.
Ryan was born in Dublin in 1953 and educated at St. contacted the department and vouched for N'Dour and his band.
But Deputy Ryan hit out at claims by Green TD Ciaran Cuffe that the government was guilty of "racial profiling".
He said: "The musicians were only detained de·tain
tr.v. de·tained, de·tain·ing, de·tains
1. To keep from proceeding; delay or retard.
2. To keep in custody or temporary confinement: while inquiries were carried out.
"Cuffe needs to explain what he is accusing the government and immigration officials at Dublin Airport of.
"It is a serious allegation and should be withdrawn.
"Why should this government apologise on behalf of immigration officials when the musicians did not possess the necessary visas?
"The officials acted responsibly and made their inquiries professionally.
"After I contacted the Department of Justice and explained the situation the group was let in.
"What this incident shows is that immigration officials are doing exactly what they are employed to do."
But the Red Box said last night that they had been told by officials no visa was needed for the gig.
Spokeswoman Jill Foley added: "Youssou N'Dour was delayed briefly yesterday.
"His show was delayed but after intervention from TD Eoin Ryan it was resolved.
"Youssou took the stage at Dublin's Red Box last night for an extended show.
"We apologise for any inconvenience caused but it was beyond our control.
"We would like to point out that all work permits for our artists were in place.
"We were informed, as was the artist, that no visas were required after a Senegalese agreement with the EU."
PRESSURE: Justice Minister McDowell; HELP: Eoin Ryan TD vouched for N'Dour; HELD UP: N'Dour was an hour late for his concert in Dublin