Government response to Moldovan humanitarian appeal not good enough - John Brady TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs John Brady TD has expressed his disappointment at the failure of the government to follow through on its commitment to take in 500 vulnerable Ukrainian refugees from Moldova.
Moldova, despite being ranked as one of if not the poorest in Europe, has responded to the crisis brought about by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with compassion, empathy and generosity.
To date, over 430,000 refugees have entered Moldova, with 100,000 remaining there, largely being accommodated in the homes of ordinary Moldovans.
Teachta Brady said:
“The government must provide answers as to why we have yet to witness a follow-through on Minister for Justice Helen McEntee’s commitment last month to take in the 500 vulnerable Ukrainian refugees from Moldova.
“There is increasing pressure coming on Moldova from healthcare, social services and educational perspectives.
“At a meeting of the EU Affairs Committee today in Leinster House, the Moldovan Ambassador, Ms Larisa Miculet, stated that she has written to the Minister looking to meet with her. She is still awaiting a reply.
“This is unfortunate and reflects poorly on the government, particularly at a time when our NGOs and so many of our private citizens are involved in making extraordinary efforts to assist refugees and to ensure badly-needed humanitarian supplies reach those who have fled the Russian invasion.
“During my recent visit to Moldova and Romania as part of an Oireachtas delegation, I was able to witness first-hand the challenges faced by both countries in their attempts to address the crisis in Ukraine.
“Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe. It is currently stretched to the limit by its efforts to offer humanitarian aid to refugees.
“To date, Moldova has taken in over 430,000 Ukrainian refugees. The numbers entering Moldova through Palanca are about 2,000 a day, from a high of 12,000.
“But if Russia intensifies its attacks on Odessa and the surrounding areas, as is expected, these numbers will increase dramatically to over 100,000 a day, a point at which Moldova will no longer be able to cope.
“The country has appealed to the EU for financial assistance. Ireland has given just €1 million in funds, which, when we consider the figures being bandied about in terms of what is being spent on supplying arms, amounts to very little.
“Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has an obligation, particularly given Ireland’s record in delivering humanitarian aid, to use Ireland’s position on the UN Security Council and at the EU, to foreground the need for the international community to increase spending for humanitarian aid.”