Speaking during a meeting of the Oireachtas Justice Committee today, Sinn Féin spokesperson Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn welcomed a motion concerning European funding for asylum and immigration management for Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Romania.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said;
“The proposed decision increases the co-financing rates under the European Refugee Fund, the European Return Fund and the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals for countries that are currently in extreme economic and financial crisis. It will co-finance certain projects up to as much as 95%.
“This is a welcome move and now that Ireland has opted in to this process, it is up to the government to step up to its responsibilities when it comes to providing services for those who are currently in the asylum process.
“People are sometimes left to languish in this system for up to seven years according to reports by the Irish Refugee Council. While they are locked in to this system awaiting a decision on their application they cannot work and must survive on €19.10 per week. The government must speed up this asylum process.
“Some of the conditions that they are living in are appalling. Children in the asylum process are living in extreme poverty with some State funded accommodation centres not even providing baby-food to babies over six months old, and cases of malnutrition and inadequate provision of food are common. To leave one of the most vulnerable groups of people in this situation in poor conditions for years is an abuse of human rights.
“In light of the potential for new European funding, Sinn Féin is calling on the government to address these matters urgently.”