Taoiseach urges unity in Europe as he calls Cabinet meeting on refugee crisis

Taoiseach urges unity in Europe as he calls Cabinet meeting on refugee crisis

A special Cabinet meeting is to take place this week to deal with Ireland's response to the refugee crisis.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says he is not fixated on the number of refugees Ireland will take, despite a comment from the Tánaiste Joan Burton that it could be as many as 5,000.

He said there needed to be an assessment of where people would be housed, fed, educated and what communities are involved.

However, Mr Kenny said Ireland could act alone and all of Europe needs to respond in a humanitarian way.

He said: "There seems to be a fixation about the number here, the Tánaiste has already repeated what I have said myself, we will step up to the mark on this.

"But I think we are entitled, from a European point of view first of all, that there should be unity from a European perspective on this.

"Some have their razor wires, some have their walls, some have their Christian values - all say they have the principle of solidarity.

"Well if we have, and this is a humanitarian crisis, then let's deal with it."

The Tánaiste said allowing refugees coming to Ireland to get a job here would be the "sensible thing to do".

She confirmed the Department of Public Expenditure is carrying out an audit of State properties and other large properties that could be used to house the people Ireland eventually accepts.

Ms Burton said a lot of checks would have to be carried out before someone could take up a job, but she thinks it is a good idea that they would not be reliant on the state for money.

She said: "That would be the sensible thing to do, if they are coming in on a programmed structure.

"I know that is Minister Fitzgerald's aim as well, that as soon as possible, they would be economically independent."

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