Offers of help to be registered in online database

The public and local groups who want to help refugees coming to Ireland will be able to register from next Monday offers of accommodation, and other goods and services, on a dedicated online database created by the Irish Red Cross.

People who have already made offers to other charities and NGOs are also being asked to supply those details to the database as data protection laws mean the information cannot automatically be transferred to it.

The Government asked the Irish Red Cross to collate all public and community offers of help when it launched its Irish Refugee Protection Programme a fortnight ago.

Since then, the organisation has been examining the logistics and legalities involved and in a circular sent to NGOs yesterday, it said it was putting the final touches to an online database that everyone with offers of help would be asked to use.

NGOs are being asked to contact anyone who has approached them with offers to ask them to resubmit their offer through the database.

They are being asked to explain that it would be a breach of data protection laws if the NGO itself transferred details of the offer directly to the Irish Red Cross.

Sample online forms circulated show that people will be asked for personal contact details, to tick boxes that describe the type of dwelling they have if they are offering accommodation or to give details of other types of goods or services they want to make available.

Anyone offering accommodation will be asked to specify if it is a room, apartment, house or other kind of dwelling; dates it is available, what condition it is in, how many bedrooms and other rooms it has, if they are the owner or occupier and if it has a garden.

People will also be asked to estimate its distance from various listed amenities and whether they feel they could accommodate a family, couple, single male or female or a child or children.

NGOs are also being asked to explain that if the offer is pursued, the Irish Red Cross will be in contact. In cases where details need to be passed on to another organisation — such as a housing body in the case of accommodation — consent will be sought first. Full details will be made public on Monday.

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