Opportunity for Ireland to take a lead on World Refugee Day
Ireland has the opportunity to be a leader in the field of successful refugee resettlement if it makes good on its commitments, said the Immigrant Council of Ireland today, World Refugee Day.
Brian Killoran, CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “Right now Ireland has a golden opportunity to show leadership among its EU peers. In September 2015 the Irish Government established the Irish Refugee Protection Programme and committed to accepting 4,000 refugees and asylum seekers by end 2017.
“However so far only a fraction have arrived in Ireland – less than a third. There is now a real need for the Government to begin to outline its future plans as to how this shortfall will be addressed and what form our future commitments will take. For those who have been successfully brought to Ireland, the opportunity for a life free of fear has opened up a new and hopeful chapter in their lives and the lives of their children. We must continue to build upon this, and play our part in offering hope and sanctuary to those who need it most.
“In addition to mere numbers, adequate support structures and integration programmes must be in place to ensure responsible resettlement. We have seen from the positive community response in Ballaghaderreen how important it is to invest in and involve local communities to ensure the integration process is beneficial to both new arrivals and the existing community.
“The risk if Ireland fails to maintain momentum would be catastrophic to those languishing in camps in other European countries and elsewhere. We are all too familiar with the continuing deadly cost of the Mediterranean migration route. It’s time we instituted safe, legal passage to put an end to needless loss of life for people escaping danger and oppression, and to empower Irish communities to play their part in welcome initiatives.”