Aid agencies demand Ireland take more refugees

A coalition of aid agencies and rights organisations has said the Government must significantly increase the number of refugees it has indicated it will take in.

The grouping has not put an exact figure on the number of people it believes should be welcomed but said the current vaguely stated commitment of anywhere between 2,300 and 5,000 was not enough.

“I haven’t heard numbers suggested which come close to what Ireland can and should do,” said Sue Conlan of the Irish Refugee Council, one of the organisations involved.

The other 15 groups are Oxfam, Trócaire, Irish Refugee Council, Immigrant Council of Ireland, the Migrant Rights Centre, ActionAid Ireland, Comhlamh, Christian Aid Ireland, Community Workers’ Co-operative, Conference of Religious in Ireland, Crosscare, Dochas, European Network against Racism, Irish Missionary Union, Mayo Intercultural Action and Mercy International Association.

They have issued a collective appeal to the Government for action on the crisis amid concerns that ministers are not moving fast enough to make decisions and practical arrangements.

They called for Ireland to base its refugee intake on facts, not politics, saying numbers should be calculated as a percentage share of the total number needing help in Europe.

They expressed concern that the Government seemed to favour taking only people who already had refugee status and were currently awaiting resettlement from UN refugee camps outside of Europe.

“Resettlement of refugees from outside the EU, the Government’s apparent preferred option, will not address the situation within the EU of people who have arrived independently and claimed asylum,” they warned.

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