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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Government 'must grant refuge to more Syrian people'

Brian Byrne

Published 22/08/2014 | 02:30

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Trevor Hogan and Cllr Chris Andrews

A GROUP campaigning against the "horrific atrocities" taking place in Syria has accused the Government of "dragging its heels" in its commitment to grant refuge to asylum seekers.

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The Government has agreed to resettle 220 refugees in 2015 and 2016, including those from Syria. It comes after 31 Syrians settled here last year, while another 90 are expected to arrive before the end of the year.

However, the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement has condemned the figure in comparison to over 1,000 people who were granted refuge here in the 1990s during and after the Bosnian War.

Speaking at a protest on O'Connell Street in Dublin yesterday, activist Bronagh Catibusic said: "At the moment we're just dragging our heels. There's no reason we can't take more refugees, particularly for vulnerable and injured people, a lot of them young children."

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the Ghouta chemical massacre, in which between 281 and 1,729 people are estimated to have died when rockets containing sarin gas were dropped in a suburb of Damascus.

Europe will provide refuge to just 4pc of the middle eastern country's more than 3.5 million asylum seekers by the end of year.

Meanwhile, ex-rugby player Trevor Hogan criticised Foreign Affairs Minister Charles Flanagan for the government's stance over the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

The Gaza Action Ireland member attended at a vigil at the Israeli Embassy in Dublin yesterday. "Minister Flanagan needs to be more robust in his interaction with the Israeli government because so far he has failed utterly to reflect the sentiment of most Irish people, which is sheer horror at what is happening to Gaza," he said. Tesco in the Jervis shopping centre was brought to a standstill last night when a group of 15 protesters stacked food items on conveyor belts which they said were produced by companies which "donate money" to Israel.

Irish Independent

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