Help Refugees in Ireland

For many years the Irish Red Cross has been supporting refugees living in Ireland. 

Between 1945 and 1946, the Irish Red Cross resettled over 1000 child refugees from war-torn countries.  This was called Operation Shamrock. Building on its post-war experience, the Irish Red Cross provided refuge for 384 people from the Baltic countries at Rockgrove Army Barracks, Little Island, Cork from 1949 – 1951.  Five years later, the Irish Red Cross was again called upon to look after 528 Hungarian refugees in Knockalisheen, Co Clare from 1956 onwards.  White Russia refugees fleeing their recently acquired homes in China had earlier been housed in Dublin by agreement with the UNHCR. When people were displaced by strife within Ireland at the outbreak of ‘the troubles in Northern Ireland, it was the Irish Red Cross that dealt with the thousands who sought refuge in army camps south of the border from 1969 to 1971. Later, at the end of that decade, the Irish Red Cross took action to care for over 500 Vietnamese “boat people” who made their homes in Dublin in 1979.  Since then the Irish Red Cross has been at the forefront in caring for Bahi refugees in 1985, and again in 1993 for Bosnian refugees who stayed in Cherry Orchard Hospital, Dublin.

Irish Red Cross Register of Pledges

Since 2016 we have been working alongside the Department of Justice & Equality to support its EU Commitment under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.  In the midst of a housing crisis, the IRC sourced housing through the establishment and management of the Register of Pledges which fronts, promotes and manages public goodwill in the form of offers of accommodation goods and services. We deliver direct assistance to families and single people through the provision of professional casework services offering wraparound supports to refugees promoting engagement with education, employment, social protection and health services.

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The goal of the programme is to enable refugees in Ireland to integrate into Irish society and achieve their potential. The Irish Red Cross has been providing support in this regard to the Irish Government since 2015 to assist the fulfilment of its EU commitment to promoting the resettlement and integration of Refugees under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. 

The Irish Red Cross delivers direct assistance to both families and single people through the provision of pledged and private rented accommodation in addition to providing professional casework services offering wraparound supports to refugees promoting engagement with education, employment, social protection and health services, and liaising with the wider Government-led Resettlement Programme across Ireland. 

As a result, the Irish Red Cross established, managed and utilised public support through the IRC Register of Pledges platform

The Irish Red Cross has four programs to assist refugees when they arrive in Ireland.                         

We have a program that matches Ukrainian people seeking temporary refuge in Ireland with householders throughout the country. We provide support under this program for both the newly arrived person and the family hosting them.                                                                                                         

We have a similar arrangement for program refugees invited to Ireland by Government (generally from conflict zones such as Afghanistan) with an additional feature of supporting them in their long-term integration into Irish society.                                                                                                                 

We participate with other NGOs, in the Community Sponsorship program which encourages local groups throughout Ireland to take responsibility for refugee families invited by Government to Ireland. This involves the local group supporting the family’s accommodation and integration into Irish society with backup from the Irish Red Cross team.                                                                                  

Finally, we have a program that supports people living in life-threatening situations in their own country to travel to Ireland. In many cases, this program reunites these refugees with family already in Ireland.                                                                                                                                                            

The Irish Red Cross utilises the generous offers of pledged accommodation from the Register of Pledges to support the temporary accommodation of all refugees mentioned above, seeking sanctuary in Ireland.

The Irish Red Cross manages these programs via its own staff and volunteers and in partnership with Government Departments, Local Authorities and a Consortium of other NGO’s namely Helping Irish Hosts, International Organisation for Migration and Peter McVerry Trust.  

The IRC launched a co-produced a video documenting 3 single Syrian Refugees’ life in their home country, their experience of war and their journey and eventual integration into Ireland. These voices highlight challenges experienced and the necessity for reunification with their families.

Community Sponsorship Ireland

CSI is an alternative resettlement stream to the traditional state-centred model of resettlement. The IRC, in cooperation with the Department of Justice, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada), UNHCR, NASC, the Irish Refugee Council and Amnesty International Ireland have worked together since 2017 to develop the Irish model of Community Sponsorship. In addition to playing a role to support the IRPP with oversight of Community Sponsorship Ireland, the Irish Red Cross now acts as a Regional Support Organisation (RSO) within the Community Sponsorship Ireland structure. The Irish Red Cross provides the necessary training, advice, guidance and support to interested community members who come together to form a CSI Group. The Irish Red Cross currently have two operational groups in Dublin and Meath incorporating a family of 4 and a family of 5 and are working with a further 4 community groups who are well into their preparations to sponsor more families.

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IRPP Resettlement Programme

The Irish Red Cross provides accommodation and integration support to programme refugees from conflict zones invited to create a new and secure life in Ireland.  Currently this programme is focused on refugees from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.

If you have any questions or would like to talk with a member of our team, phone 01 6424600 or email