Charities and rights groups welcomed the Government’s action plan on the refugee crisis but warned sufficient resources and organisation were crucial to its successful implementation.
The Irish Refugee Council, which has criticised the official inaction in recent months, said it was pleased the Government had finally responded to the groundswell of support expressed by the public for the refugees.
Chief executive Sue Conlan said: “The IRC has been overwhelmed with offers of practical support for refugees from members of the public.”
She urged the Government to ensure that goodwill was properly captured and that communities were well supported in welcoming the new arrivals.
That call was echoed by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. It said Ireland had sent a strong message to other EU countries by committing to receiving refugees in advance of a formal decision being made at EU level next Monday and to accepting more than asked of it.
Sophie Magennis, head of the Irish office, said the key issue was that communities were properly prepared to receive refugees.
“Ireland has a bit of time now over the coming weeks and the expertise is within the Department of Justice, the NGOs and local authorities,” said Ms Magennis.
“Information for the receiving communities is really crucial.”
Trocaire said it was essential that Government efforts match the public’s when it comes to integration.
Director Eamonn Meehan said: “The outpouring of generosity and compassion from the public has been remarkable and shows how communities all over Ireland will welcome these refugees and help them settle.
“The Government will now hopefully develop and implement a transparent and accelerated process of relocation and resettlement, with clear guidelines and timeframes in place.”
Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty International Ireland, said the Government’s pledges were a “meaningful contribution” but the number pledged would not be enough.
“The Government needs to keep in mind the wider context of a crisis that requires over 1.38m to be resettled, and must consider accepting greater numbers.
“We can and must do more — the sheer scale of this crisis demands that,” Mr O’Gorman said.
Tanya Ward of the Children’s Rights Alliance, welcomed the particular focus the action plan places on unaccompanied children.
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