Irish Red Cross units and branches have been instructed to assess their capacity to support victims of the migration crisis arriving in Ireland.
An eight-person task force has been appointed to coordinate the Irish Red Cross response to the overall crisis with a particular emphasis on assisting in the resettling and integration of migrants.
Irish Red Cross Chair, Pat Carey, said the society will be engaging with government to work out the finer details of the support needed.
“The Irish Red Cross National Director of Units circulated a memo yesterday to Area officers directing that an assessment of available personnel and equipment – including ambulances and minibuses – be carried out urgently,” Mr Carey said.
The Irish Red Cross has a long-standing tradition of assisting with reception, care and integration of people fleeing their home country. In the 1950s Hungarians supported who fled the Soviet invasion. In the 70s families from Northern Ireland and Vietnam were supported; in the 1980s members of the Baha’i community; and in the 1990s Bosnians escaping the Balkans war.
“Irish Red Cross volunteers are trained in humanitarian support and we have a vibrant youth section both of which could have an important role in helping migrants acclimatise and integrate.
"We will help with finding them homes after they have been received in Ireland and our nationwide branch network will be critical in providing support to thereafter.
“Our Restoring Family Links service will also inevitably be called upon to trace people who have gone missing along the migratory trail.
“We launched a Migration Crisis appeal for donations last week and the task force will be looking at how some of these donations can be used in support of those arriving in Ireland and those on the migratory trail.
Donations to the Irish Red Cross Migration Crisis Appeal can be made at redcross.ie or on 1850 50 70 70.