Wednesday 17 January 2018

'It's the biggest crisis since war and it's not going away': archbishop

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: 'Europe has not been responding adequately'
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: 'Europe has not been responding adequately'

Greg Harkin

Archbishop Diarmaid Martin has warned that the world now faces "the biggest refugee crisis since World War Two and it's not going to go away".

He criticised Government promises to do more, saying: "I'm always worried about people who talk in the future tense.

"Europe has not been responding adequately. It has been leaving it to the Italians and leaving it to the Greeks. We have to get a quota system working and I believe Ireland should take the numbers it is allocated, but we should be doing more not just in quantity but in quality too.

"We should take more than just the quota and ensuring what we do for them is worthy of them."

He said the Government should act now and not wait for any quota to be agreed.

"We should be doing that (taking refugees) today," he said. "I can see that there are parishes who will be willing to take in refugees within the legal framework set by the Government."

Bishop John McAreavey told the Irish Independent that he believed Ireland is ready to do its bit.

"It is one thing to send money to people overseas and Ireland has a fantastic record on that, but this is an entirely different thing we are being asked to do.

"I believe, however, that perhaps we are ready for a 'Road to Damascus' conversion, for all of our communities in Ireland to do their bit and share the burden equally."

Meanwhile, former Irish Attorney General Peter Sutherland, the UN's special representative on migration, defended his comments that the crisis was an "eminently manageable" situation.

He said that just five countries in Europe were currently sharing the burden of refugees.

"What we have now is an unbalanced assymetric European Union where people are responding in different ways and not following the European Commission proposal which should be a quota system fairly sharing the migrants between different countries."

He said Europe faced a "dire humanitarian crisis" and warned: "History will look back on this moment as a moment of failure by Europe as things stand; to stand up for its values or to apply them, that's the bottom line."

Irish Independent

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