Irish 'pledge a bed' for refugees campaign is overwhelmed with offers
Published 03/09/2015 | 18:32
Frustrated by the government's response to the deepening migration crisis, Irish advocacy group, Uplift, has set up a 'Pledge a Bed' campaign for people to share their homes with refugees.
Over 1,030 Irish people signed up to the 'Pledge a Bed' campaign within three hours of its inception and that number is expected to rise.
The campaign allows Irish people to register an offer of accommodation for refugees.
"At the moment we can only take pledges and not definite commitments. However, the overwhelming response demonstrates that Irish citizens are stepping up their efforts and are willing to help more refugees than what the government is offering to take in," Director of Uplift Siobhan O'Donoghue told Independent.ie.
"This is a powerful message to Enda Kenny's dismal response to the crisis."
The Uplift campaign follows similar schemes across Europe offering their support to refugees.
A German group called Refugees Welcome, which has been described as an "Airbnb for refugees," has helped people fleeing from war-torn countries. More than 780 Germans have signed up to the website and 26 people have been placed in private homes so far.
In the UK, professor Michael Stewart set up a Facebook group for people to share their homes with refugees.
Having only created the group late on Wednesday, the 56-year-old Londoner said he was heartened to find hundreds of users joined within 24 hours and offered spare rooms, sofas or donations towards hosting if they did not have the space.
"The power of social media has united people from all across Britain and Europe and brought us together to do something extraordinary and offer support and solidarity to those in need." Stewart told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The influx of refugees has strained the EU's asylum system to breaking point, sowing division among its 28 nations, which have taken sharply opposing positions on whether to offer welcome.