Tuesday 27 September 2016

Tánaiste Joan Burton says Ireland can accept up to 5,000 refugees

Sarah McDonald

Published 07/09/2015 | 02:30

Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin issued the appeal, saying refugees fleeing conflict need more than just a roof over their heads and need to live as part of a caring community.
Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin issued the appeal, saying refugees fleeing conflict need more than just a roof over their heads and need to live as part of a caring community.

Tánaiste Joan Burton has said Ireland can accept up to 5,000 refugees over a period of time.

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The Labour Party leader told RTE's News at One that the refugees will be coming to Ireland under the Refugee Programme rather than entering the Direct Provision system.

Meanwhile, a Catholic bishop has called on parishes throughout his diocese to find suitable accommodation for refugees before they arrive in Ireland.

Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin issued the appeal, saying refugees fleeing conflict need more than just a roof over their heads and need to live as part of a caring community.

"I am asking parishes throughout the diocese to begin a process of identifying suitable accommodation that might be made available to refugees when they do reach our shores, so that they don't just have a roof over their heads, but also the possibility of living as members of a caring community.

"I will be communicating directly with the clergy about this in coming days," he said.

Bishop Doran said the Dáil should be recalled immediately to discuss Ireland's response to the migrant crisis.

Speaking yesterday, he said it is "clear that our borders need to be opened to deal with this humanitarian crisis" and that this was a matter for government, both national and local.

In his homily, Bishop Doran appealed to every parish throughout his west of Ireland diocese to begin identifying suitable accommodation that might be made available to refugees.

His appeal echoed a call by Pope Francis for every parish, convent and monastery in Europe to take in one refugee family each. The Pontiff said the Vatican's two parishes would lead by example by accommodating Syrian families over the coming days.

Bishop Doran said Europe was being challenged by circumstances "to open our hearts to people who, out of fear for their lives, have been forced to leave their homes". While acknowledging concerns that some who apply for asylum may not be genuine, he said it would be "stupid" to suggest that all of the thousands fleeing "would just take it into their heads to get up and travel such distances under very difficult conditions unless there was a very powerful motive for doing so".

Irish Independent

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