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Council Extends Welcome to Unaccompanied Refugee Children – Holland

14 November, 2016 - by Sarah Holland

South Dublin County Council passed a motion today supporting the “Not On Our Watch” Campaign and welcoming the Government decision to bring 200 unaccompanied refugee children to Ireland.  The motion had cross-party support and passed unanimously without debate.

Not on Our Watch is a network of volunteers and organisations calling on the Irish government to do more for the unaccompanied children in Calais.  There were an estimated 1,400 unaccompanied children moved from Calais during the recent demolition of the camp, a move that was widely criticised among the International community.

The motion was brought by Sinn Féin councillor for Rathfarnham Sarah Holland, who commented after the meeting:

“The conditions in Calais were horrific and I was appalled to discover that there were hundreds of unaccompanied children there.

“The way the European community have treated refugees and asylum seekers is inhumane, and the attitudes of some politicians and media outlets has been shocking.

“I wanted us, as a council, to unite and give a public statement that refugees are welcome, and that we are willing to step up and support them.”

Solicitor Gary Daly is spokesperson for the Not on Our Watch campaign, who lobbied successfully to have a bill passed in the Dáil.

Mr Daly said

“The Not On Our Watch campaign warmly welcome the passing of the Dáil motion. We hope that it is indicative of a new, proactive approach of government in providing support and sanctuary to those who need it. Right now, there are millions of our fellow humans who are enduring untold suffering for reasons not of their making.  

“Listening to the discussion in the Dáil chamber on 2nd November it is clear that there is strong support across the political spectrum for a vast improvement in the Government’s response. We warmly welcome this motion by South Dublin County Council and particularly that the residents of South Dublin would welcome these youngsters in to their homes and community and offer them a new start in life.” 

Note: The text of the motion was as follows;

“That this council support the “Not on Our Watch” campaign and welcome the Government decision to bring 200 unaccompanied refugee children to Ireland, and that this council writes to the Minister to offer any help we can as a local authority in rehoming these children, and helping them to settle into our community.”

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