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"The Irish government could undoubtedly do more for refugees" - Anderson

9 December, 2015 - by Martina Anderson MEP

"The Irish government could undoubtedly do more for refugees" - Anderson

Following publication of a report by a group of 21 NGOs including the Irish Refugee Council, the Migrant Rights Centre and Oxfam, stating Ireland should accept 22,000 refugees Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the Irish Government to commit to accepting more refugees.

Speaking at a migration and asylum: a challenge for European Parliament seminar in Brussels today, Ms Anderson said,

"My Sinn Féin colleagues in the Executive have put in place all the necessary measures to accommodate as many refugees as possible. We were delighted to hear that the first Syrian refugees will land in the north of Ireland before the end of this year.

"This is despite the fact that migration is a reserved power at Westminster. We have been able to operate outside of the constraints of partition and provide for people fleeing Daesh, Assad, death, destruction, persecution and now French and British airstrikes.

A member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee in the European Parliament, Ms Anderson continued,

"Civic society in the north of Ireland has also responded with humanity. Mayors, charities, sports clubs, schools and various community groups have organised, collected clothing and raised funds to help as many people as they can.

"In the south of Ireland the situation has similarities. Again civic society has organised and been very active.

"But the Irish government could undoubtedly do more. The initial number of additional refugees the state agreed to accommodate was too small. Initially the number quoted was 600 and eventually that was scaled up to 4,000.

"Yet on Monday, a consortium of NGOs called for an increase, to 22,000, in the number of displaced people accepted under relocation and resettlement schemes by the Irish government.

"I would echo their call and as we approach the 100th anniversary of the 1916 rising I am reminded of the Proclamation - 'cherishing all the children of the national equally' and I am calling on the Irish Government to act in the spirit of that declaration. Let's ensure that our nation is a welcoming one and those who land here, are cared for." CRÍOCH/END

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