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Government’s weak response on calls to take 200 Calais children is pitiful - Kathleen Funchion TD

3 November, 2016 - by Kathleen Funchion TD


Reacting to the Government’s weak response last night to calls from cross- party TDs to take 200 unaccompanied children being moved from Calais, Sinn Féin  TD Kathleen Funchion  said that the contributions from the Minister for Justice, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and Minister for Foreign Affairs were pitiful given the gravity of the situation.

She said:

“There was cross party support on this issue. TDs went into the chamber last night to ask the three Ministers to listen to calls from both the Irish public and NGOs to immediately intervene and negotiate with the French authorities to transfer and home 200 minors in the aftermath of the destruction of Calais refugee camp.

“It was extremely disappointing to see our united efforts be met with weak excuses. We in Sinn Féin, along with other parties, have been working closely with the Not On Our Watch campaign to lobby this Government to take 200 children from Calais for the past 2 weeks.  We outlined how the transfer of children could take place, and explained that the campaign has been inundated with calls from the public to help in any way, even offering their own homes.

“We know that the expertise and blueprint for transferring these children, via the Department of Justice, Department of Foreign Affairs and Túsla is there.  However, it would seem that the political will is not. The Government has previously stated that their policy is to prioritise women and children in the number of refugees Ireland is to take. The fact that we now have an opportunity to immediately help 200 who are at high risk but won’t, is a direct contradiction of that pledge.

“These Ministers, having heard to call from all parties and the public, need to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to take action now, in the name of the Irish people.”

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