independent

Sunday 21 January 2018

30 Syrian refugees to be housed in New Ross

Rebel fighters ride on a pick-up truck in the northern Syrian rebel-held town of al-Rai, Syria
Rebel fighters ride on a pick-up truck in the northern Syrian rebel-held town of al-Rai, Syria
Senior Housing Officer Padraig O'Gorman

David Looby

More than 30 refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria will be housed in New Ross over the coming weeks.

Wexford County Council has been buying houses in the town in recent months to accommodate the refugees through funding provided by the Department of Justice.

Senior Houing Officer Padraig O'Gorman told this newspaper that Phase I of the refugee resettlement programme in the county involved 80 refugees being housed in Wexford and Enniscorthy, while Phase II is about to get under way, with the majority of the families being housed in New Ross.

He said: '14 refugee families are being housed in Phase II and ten of these families will be housed in New Ross, with two families going to Wexford and two to Enniscorthy.'

He said the council bought houses in good repair in New Ross specifically for the refugees, adding that this does not affect applicants on the social housing list in the area. 'It's a separate programme, so it's not coming off our housing list. It's funded separately and it's budgeted through the Department of Justice. The houses are dotted around the town.'

Mr O'Gorman addressed a behind-closed-doors meeting of New Ross Municipal District councillors on the matter recently and the meeting lasted for over two hours.

He said some councillors raised some issues, but were happy with the programme and looked forward to welcoming the refugees in late October or early November to New Ross, in a private ceremony.

The Syrian refugees are being housed as part of the Government's Refugee Resettlement Programme, which aims to accommodate 4,000 refugees across the country.

Mr O'Gorman said ten families will live in New Ross, where they will be able to apply for work.

'They have the same rights as any EU citizen. We are creating a New Ross cluster so the families will be able to avail of services like an interpreter, childcare and a dedicated refugee resettlement worker who can assist them.'

The refugees have been staying in Clonea in Dungarvan for several months, acclimatising to life in Ireland.

Mr O'Gorman said there is considerable goodwill towards the refugees. 'These are people who had to genuinely leave their home country because of civil war there.'

New Ross Standard

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