Govt split over Ireland’s response to migrant crisis
2015-09-15 12:23:04 -

By Chinedu Onyejelem


Government parties are split over the number of refugees Ireland is prepared to receive this year.


Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton said Ireland would take up to 5,000 migrants from Syria as programme refugees, who would be given permission to stay in Ireland for two years under the Geneva Convention.


“These are people who would come in like the people from Bosnia and indeed from Vietnam before,” she added.


However, her statement is at odds with those of Fine Gael coalition partners.


Following the European Commission’s estimate that up to 150,000 refugees would be entering Europe, Minister for Defence Simon Coveney said that proportionately Ireland would accept at least 1,800.


That figure has been confirmed by the Department of Justice, which said that “Ireland will not be found wanting and as before will do the right and generous thing commensurate with our size and our capacity.”


Justice added that Ireland is “open to accepting additional migrants and will participate fully in the range of responses needed to address this global humanitarian crisis.”


Meanwhile, the Irish Red Cross has announced the setting up of a task force on the migration crisis.


In a statement, the organisation said the “high-level team” would assess its “capacity to assist migrants arriving in Ireland and those affected in other countries.”


Other reactions to the migrant crisis could be found in Limerick, as around 100 people attended a last-minute protest recently in solidarity with those refugees fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa.


Speaking at the protest, local Anti Austerity Alliance (AAA) councillor Cian Prendiville said: “So far this year over 2,500 people have died trying to get refuge in Europe in the Mediterranean alone. These tragic deaths are reminiscent of the thousands who died fleeing Ireland on the famine ships, and are a clarion call to all of us to step up the fight against Fortress Europe and its racist immigration policies.”


Criticising the Government for delaying on the issue, Cllr Prendiville said ordinary men and women in Ireland have taken the lead role, pledging more than 11,500 beds to accommodate refugees.

TAGS : Refugee Crisis in Ireland Refugee Crisis Fine Gael Department of Justice
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