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False stories claim Ireland prepping for Muslim immigration

March 8, 2018

DUBLIN (AP) — An Irish government plan to address population growth isn’t an outline for “nation-destruction” that will bring in 1 million immigrants from Muslim countries, as claimed by several false stories circulating online.

The plan to address growth doesn’t specify countries where immigrants would come from, nor their religions.

Several websites tie all projected increases in the Ireland 2040 plan to immigrants — “likely Muslims” — from Afghanistan, Africa, the Middle East and Pakistan — and claim the prime minister, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, is an “ethnic Indian.” The prime minister is the son of a Hindu doctor from India and an Irish nurse.

The sites said Varadkar was talking about the migration of more than a million people when he said, “It’s our big vision for how we want to reshape Ireland.”

The plan describes projected growth of around 1.1 million over 22 years. The leading nationalities of people moving to Ireland in the year before the country’s most recent census in 2016 were returning Irish citizens, followed by people from the United Kingdom and those from Brazil.

The quote attributed to Varadkar is accurate, but he did not say it in speaking of immigration. Varadkar tweeted that remark Feb. 16 about the plan as a whole, just before the government released it.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

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