Refugees welcome in Co Roscommon town - but lack of local engagement an issue
2017-01-15 10:15:45 -
By Staff Reporter

The Irish Refugee Council has welcomed the announcement that refugees will be re-homed in a Co Roscommon town, but expressed concern at the lack of prior engagement with the local community.

Eighty refugees, mostly from war-torn Syria, are due to arrive in Ballaghaderreen, where they will stay at the Abbeyfield Hotel in the absence of other suitable accommodation.

“It is heartening to see the overwhelmingly positive recep-tion from people in Ballaghaderreen to this announcement,” said IRC chief executive Nick Henderson. “Many comments have recognised that people have fled persecution and a brutal war in Syria.

“Coming to Ballaghaderreen is another step in a long journey to safety that has included undertaking a dangerous voyage to Europe and living in very difficult conditions in Greece. This journey does not end once people arrive to Ireland so ensuring that they are welcomed and supported through this transition is essential.”

However, Henderson noted that “a consistent theme in comments from people living in the community has been the lack of notice or consultation that was given. 

“It is crucial that in circumstances such as these local communities are properly informed so that questions can be answered, a welcome prepared and services organised. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to have happened in this case. ”

Some 3,200 refugees are due to be resettled and relocated to Ireland by the end of 2017. 

“This is a significant humanitarian undertaking that we should strongly commend but one that cannot be underestimated,” said Henderson. “It will only work if transparency and information are embedded in the process and resources given to all stakeholders.”
Henderson also reminded that the hotel stay “is meant to be temporary and for a period of around six months”.

“For this to be the case, resources are needed to ensure that there is adequate housing for this group of people and other marginalised and vulnerable groups,” he said. “Support also needs to be given to people in Direct Provision who have been recognised as refugees but who cannot leave because they are struggling to secure rental accommodation against the backdrop of a wider housing crisis.”
TAGS : Ireland Refugees Co Roscommon Town Lack Local Engagement
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