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Government needs to do more on Refugee crisis – Adams

19 October, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today challenged the Taoiseach on the government’s appalling record on refugees and in particular its unwillingness to resettle refugees in this state. The Sinn Féin leader also questioned the government’s commitment to providing Overseas Aid.

Gerry Adams said:

“The crisis in refugees was brought home yesterday with the news that five people, including a child, were found inside a container in County Wexford. They are Kurdish citizens fleeing persecution and war and they are now seeking asylum here.

“In the Programme for Government the government states that it will ‘offer safe haven for refugees under EU and UN resettlement and relocation programmes, while promoting the integration of refugees in our communities’.

“In truth, there has been precious little evidence of the government providing a ‘safe haven’ in the last few years despite the huge crisis of refugees fleeing war and famine and poverty from the Middle East and north Africa.

“While our naval vessels have done a commendable job in the Mediterranean, saving thousands of lives, the government has not lived up to the commitments it entered into on refugees.

“Last year, the government committed to accepting 4,000 refugees; a small number in the scale of the humanitarian catastrophe taking place, but thus far it has failed to reach even this number. Less than a thousand have been resettled and the Taoiseach was unable to indicate when the 4000 number would be achieved.

“The Government has also failed to reach the UN’s goal of 0.7% of GDP in overseas aid from developed states. Last year, the Taoiseach told the UN that the Irish state would work toward achieving the UN goal of 0.7%. However, in 2015, the aid budget was only 0.4% of GDP. In Budget 2017, the Government allocated an additional €10 million to the Overseas Development Budget, but this means that, in real terms, government spending has decreased as a percentage of GDP. According to Trócaire, Budget 2017 means that the government’s Overseas Development Budget is at the same level as 17 years ago, measured in relation to the size of the economy.

“It is estimated that the overseas budget for next year will be 0.3 per cent of national income. This amounts to just 30c for every €100 the Government spends.” 

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