Saturday 18 November 2017

Yes, we have our own problems - but we should still welcome refugees

A volunteer hugs a migrant woman as she leaves the Jules Ferry center to take a bus for their transfer by French authorities to reception centres across the country during the dismantlement of the camp called the 'Jungle' in Calais, France. Photo: REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
A volunteer hugs a migrant woman as she leaves the Jules Ferry center to take a bus for their transfer by French authorities to reception centres across the country during the dismantlement of the camp called the 'Jungle' in Calais, France. Photo: REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
Liz O'Donnell

Liz O'Donnell

The Dáil debate and vigil calling for the Government to offer sanctuary to 200 refugee children stranded in Calais following the demolition of the so-called 'Jungle' camp presents a challenge.

So far, Ireland's response to the unprecedented migrant crisis, particularly since the start of the Syrian war, has been modest and slow. Despite agreeing last September to participate in the EU relocation programme of refugees in Greece and Italy to the tune of 4,000, only a few hundred have actually arrived here.

Bureaucracy has been blamed and a failure to agree appropriate sharing of the burden among EU countries has slowed down the whole process to a trickle.

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