Thousands of refugees escaping the Mediterranean crisis could be “ghettoised” and housed in a single campus location for years unless the Government puts in place practical medium-term measures to cope with the sudden influx in people.
Oireachtas justice committee members from across the political divide made the claim after holding a detailed briefing with Ireland’s naturalisation and immigration services yesterday.
Speaking at an update on the ongoing emergency, acting director general of the Irish naturalisation and immigration service Michael Kirrane and head of the refugee applications commission David Costello both stressed plans are being drawn up.
However, committee members noted the exact plans on where people will be housed in the medium to long-term have yet to be published and said the fact that up to 4,000 people coming here over the next two years will be initially placed in a single centre could cause the “ghettoisation”.
Under the plans, Ireland will take in up to 4,000 migrants fleeing the crisis in the Mediterranean over the next two years, with people arriving in three-month stages and initially placed in a single holding centre while necessary security checks take place.
Committee members warned there is a risk the initially short-term situation could see a repeat of direct provision which has seen some people kept in similar campuses for a decade.
While noting the fact the Red Cross is already examining 15,000 offers of homes and the EU is willing to provide €6,000 to the State for every migrant taken in, Fine Gael TD Gabrielle McFadden said the lack of detail is causing “great concern”.
The Longford-Westmeath TD said she is from an area where a direct provision centre has placed people “in mobile homes for a decade”. She feared many refugees could face the same fate.
Independent TD Finian McGrath said placing people in one centre could “ghettoise people”, an issue also raised by Sinn Féin’s Padraig Mac Lochlainn.
While accepting the vital need to help people escape to safety, independent senator Rónán Mullen said there still needs to be a way to “evaluate if people coming have a security threat” and that “no question should be taboo”.
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