Cork County council seeking homes for 50 refugees

Cork County Council is currently seeking homes for 50 refugees, but expects to be asked to house more as the migrant crisis intensifies after Germany closed its border with Austria.

Council chief executive Tim Lucey said he expected the first of the 50 refugees to arrive in Cork in November and the remainder of that group to come next February.

He said they would either be put into council houses, or suitable private rented accommodation.

Mr Lucey made his comments after councillors decided to suspend standing orders to discuss the growing migrant crisis and what they were doing to help.

Independent councillor Claire Cullinane said the Government’s decision to take in 4,000 refugees was right, but could be just the beginning.

She said it was also imperative that the council made sure that provision was made to enable Irish homeless to also be housed.

Fellow Independent Noel Collins said Angela Merkel “had some cheek” to say Ireland wasn’t doing enough.

“We’re doing more than our fair share,” said Mr Collins. “Why aren’t the Arab countries doing more for African migrants. America needs to do more. By all means let us extend the hand of friendship, but we must not forget 98,000 families here who are living in appalling conditions,”

Sinn Féin;s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said he did n0t want to see a repeat of the past where refugees were kept in direct provision centres for years on end.

Mr Lucey said the council was working with a number of agencies, such as the Departments of Education, Justice, Social Protection, and Health to integrate the refugees into local society.

He said he would provide councillors with further updates as the refugees arrived.

Meanwhile, council officials said they had been holding talks in the past few weeks with the Naval Service about providing a civic reception for the crews of the LÉ Eithne and LÉ Niamh, who have rescued thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.

It has been decided that the civic reception will be held in County Hall in early December when LÉ Niamh has returned from the EU-led humanitarian operation.

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