Sunday 18 August 2019

Ireland must keep its refugee promise - former president Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson

Mark O'Regan

Ireland must keep its promise to accept thousands of migrants despite two of the Paris terrorists entering the EU posing as Syrian refugees.

​​Speaking to, former President Mary Robinson said the Government must not renege on its agreement ​to accept ​an estimated​ 4,000 refugees.

"I hope very much that we will take them in. That is our responsibility and we must remember that the migrant issue is different from the terrorism issue,'' she stressed.

A passport in the name of Ahmad Almohammad, 25, was found near the body of one of the suicide attackers who killed 129 people on Friday.

The passport, which may have been a fake, was issued to a Syrian man who crossed through Greece and Serbia.

Ireland is on course to accept some 4,000 ​migrants ​as part of the country's response to the ​international refugee​ crisis.

However, the numbers could swell to 16,000 as asylum seekers are joined by their families over the coming years.

The State will take in migrants​ from Syria, Eritrea and Iraq.

"We have to continue to show compassion, and also to meet our own responsibilities," said the former President.​

She also expressed her "deep sadness" at the scale of the French massacre which left 129 people dead.

"I'm very upset at the scale of the violence against innocent people," she added.

"It's important that we see these as crimes against humanity. The perpetrators must be brought to justice.

"I think it's better if we try to deal with it as a criminal, terrorist activity.

"I also​ hope that we will show great solidarity with the French people.

"I hope the multi-lateral process will work because we need it."

She was speaking in Trinity College, where it was announced that Atlantic Philanthropies has donated €138m to the college, and the ​University of California in​ San Francisco, to help tackle dementia.

Almost 50,000 people are living with ​the condition​ in Ireland, a number which is projected to double every 20 years if there is no effective intervention.

Colette Kelleher, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland , said the condition is now a burgeoning public health issue.

"With numbers expected to treble in a generation, dementia is not just an issue facing our generation , but our children and their children too.

"Our hope would be these people and future generations will directly benefit from the situating of such a prestigious, world-class institute here in Ireland."

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