Government must explore all options available to address Refugee Crisis – Liadh Ní Riada MEP
Speaking following a meeting with the Irish immigrant support centre NASC, in Cork today MEP Liadh Ní Riada welcomed the fact that an emergency summit of EU leaders will take place week, but said that the Irish Government must explore all options available to it to help address the growing humanitarian crisis. The Sinn Féin MEP held a meeting with NASC CEO Fiona Finn and Campaigns and Communications Manager Jennifer DeWan.
Liadh Ní Riada said:
“I welcome the fact that a summit of EU leaders will take place next week, but this cannot be just another talking shop. Europe needs to work together to address the growing humanitarian crisis proactively and in a spirit of solidarity.
“The Irish Government must play its party and must be willing to explore all practical options at its disposal. There has been much talk about numbers over recent weeks, but our focus must be on fulfilling our moral, political and legal obligations to offer protection and refuge to those fleeing conflict.
“The Government had already committed to welcoming 1,100 refugees under existing programmes, and the addition of some 2,900 to this number must be welcomed, however I believe that we must expand the scope of our intervention. Sinn Féin believes that with political will and capitalising on the goodwill and solidarity already offered by communities across Ireland, we can do more to alleviate the crisis.
“One practical solution will be to allow the Syrian community, in partnership with community organisations and NGOs to sponsor family members as part of a humanitarian relocation scheme at little or no cost to the Exchequer. There is already a precedent for such a scheme in the Syrian Humanitarian Assistance Programme (SHAP) under which family members of Syrians already resident in Ireland were sponsored and given leave to remain in Ireland.
“I will continue to liaise with NASC and with the growing number of groups coming together all over the country to offer support and solidarity to those fleeing conflict and instability. In the meantime I urge the Government to speak with community groups, advocacy organisations and integration experts, and to ensure that all options are on the table when it comes to addressing this crisis.”