Friday 24 November 2017

We must take action, warns Archbishop

Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Kieran O'Reilly
Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Kieran O'Reilly

Sarah Mac Donald

Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly has demanded more action on the refugee crisis, warning that Irish people are "wondering why nothing is happening".

The Archbishop of Cashel and Emly was formally invested with his pallium, a symbol of the bond between an archbishop and the pontiff, by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, in Thurles.

Speaking to the Irish Independent ahead of his investiture, Dr O'Reilly called for the setting up of a forum to deal with the refugee crisis.

"People are wondering why nothing is happening. We need clarity about the number coming," he said.

He urged the Government to harness the goodwill and generosity of people and organisations who are willing to help.

"The Church is willing to do whatever we can but it needs to have the dots linked up. The main worry we have is that the organisational infrastructure won't be there; that there will be gaps and people will be left without proper supports when they come."

The archbishop was also critical of the lack of communication from the State in response to the offers of help from parishes. "We're waiting to hear and the winter is coming," he warned.

"I think [people] would be very disappointed if they felt that their commitment was not taken seriously. I don't know why it is not happening. Maybe the election is taking up a lot of energy and time. But people matter very seriously," the senior bishop challenged.

Last week the country's bishops called for "clear leadership" and political commitment to the resettlement of refugees.

They warned that "urgent reform" is needed in order to avoid the creation of "an unjust two-tier system" in which the needs of those who have been waiting for status in direct provision for many years are overlooked.

Irish Independent

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