The Irish Red Cross this month hosted meetings around the country for people with an interest in migration. More than 240 people attended the six meetings in Drogheda, Portlaoise, Galway, Cork, Limerick and Dublin. Amongst those in attendance were people who have made pledges of accommodation, services and goods via the Irish Red Cross Register of Pledges, members of the public, and volunteers from the organisation.
The Irish Red Cross provided information about migration activities and plans, and gathered feedback from attendees about Ireland’s response to the migration crisis.
Many in attendance showed a keen interest in offering practical support to welcome and assist migrants joining their communities. Similarly, there was general agreement that most people would also like to offer help to people already living in Direct Provision centres as well as to unaccompanied minors.
The meetings revealed country-wide confusion around a number of key areas:
• Ireland’s policy commitment to assist 4,000 migrants to come to Ireland from Greece, Italy and Lebanon
• The asylum process and procedures for migrants and refugees arriving in Ireland.
To help improve understanding of these areas, and processes and plans in Ireland, the Irish Red Cross will publish an FAQ document to its Migration web page (www.redcross.ie/migration) in January 2017.
[UPDATE 13/01/2017: Irish Red Cross Migration FAQs document]
At the meetings a great deal of frustration was expressed in relation to the length of time it has taken the Irish Government to assist migrants coming from Greece and Italy under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP). Meeting attendees encouraged the Irish Red Cross to advocate on this matter, publicly and via the IRPP taskforce. It was clear from our meetings that there was a general consensus that you, our supporters, wanted your feedback to be forwarded on to the relevant Government department. Therefore, we will forward all comments to the Irish Refugee Protection Programme Taskforce.
Participants also sought information from the Irish Red Cross as to how the pledge system will work in terms of matching and placing migrants and the accommodation that has been pledged, and what supports will be available to migrants and people making pledges.
The full Irish Red Cross structure will be in place from early January, with voluntary and professional coordination and support available to everyone who has made a pledge. More details on this support structure can be found on the website, here.
The accommodating of migrants with community members who have pledges homes will begin at this stage cooperation with, Irish Red Cross housing partner, Co-operative Housing Ireland. More details on this can also be found on the website, here.
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