Budget 2016 and Ireland’s response to the Refugee Crisis

Posted On: October 14, 2015

MEDIA RELEASE, 14 October 2015

The government’s allocation of funds in Budget 2016   to increase the provision of support services for refugees is a positive humanitarian response to the current refugee crisis. However, support needs to be across the board and encompass all people in need of international protection, whether they come through an organised programme or on their own.

Caroline Reid, Communications Officer with the Irish Refugee Council said,

“The Refugee Convention does not discriminate by nationality or method of arrival and neither should Ireland.  Any funding allocated in the budget should also be available for the support of people who have arrived here individually outside of the resettlement and relocation programmes. That applies to more than 4,000 people who are still languishing in Direct Provision centres across the country.”

She went on to say,

“As part of the distribution of the €25 million funding, the Irish Refugee Council recommends that resources are expressly provided for local support and integration services, including community and voluntary organisations operating at the local level to work with local communities in a way that meets their needs alongside those of asylum seekers and refugees. Integration without the involvement of local communities is not sustainable or appropriate.”

Support should also extend to specialist service providers and NGOs offering vital support to people.

“People arriving have lived through very particular experiences and they will need support that may fall outside of the usual health service providers remit. These should all be seen as part of a comprehensive  approach to Ireland’s Refugee Protection Programme and must include those in the system now,”  Reid went on to say.

The IRC remains concerned that the system of Direct Provision, acknowledged nationally and internationally as not fit for purpose, will not only remain in place but be strengthened under budget proposals.

“Direct Provision does not need improvement.  It needs to be abolished.  We have to start learning from our past mistakes and put in place initial reception facilities and programmes that live up to our commitment under the Refugee Convention. The current orientation centre that has opened is owned and operated by Direct Provision centre owners, with little transparency on how this contract was agreed or tendered for.”

ENDS

Contact

Caroline Reid, Communications Officer, 085 858 5510

Notes

The EU budget will provide dedicated funding of €780 million to support the relocation scheme. Beneficiary Member States will get €6000 per relocated person, including a 50% pre-financing rate to ensure that national authorities have means to act very swiftly. Ireland has agreed to take in 3,500 people under this scheme which means an estimated €21m will be granted to Ireland by the EU.

Specialised service providers would include organisations such as SPIRASI and BelongTo who work with people who have very specific support needs. Family reunification should also be a priority if integration is to be fully achieved.