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Charities call on Government to increase 1,800 refugees pledge

Published 09/09/2015

Enda Kenny is to be pressed to increase the number of migrants to be admitted to Ireland
Enda Kenny is to be pressed to increase the number of migrants to be admitted to Ireland

A coalition of charities and rights groups has called on Government ministers to significantly increase commitments to take in at least 1,800 refugees.

Sixteen groups insisted the crisis across Europe must made a priority for Ireland when the cabinet holds a special meeting on it tomorrow.

In an eight point plan the group demanded Taoiseach Enda Kenny accept that more people fleeing persecution need to be accepted on Irish shores.

"Failure to act now will lead to increased loss of life and continued suffering for people fleeing war, poverty and persecution. Ireland needs to act with courage and conviction in this time of need. The public is calling for it, civil society is calling for it, and humanity demands it," the group said.

The coalition is made up of Oxfam, Trocaire, ActionAid Ireland, Comhlamh, Christian Aid Ireland, Community Workers' Co-operative, Conference of Religious in Ireland, Crosscare, Dochas, European Network against Racism, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Irish Missionary Union, Irish Refugee Council, Mayo Intercultural Action, Mercy International Association and the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland.

It called for Ireland's quota of refugees to be based on fact - capacity, funding, percentage share as an EU member state.

But it said the Government must also recognise that the influx of people fleeing war, dysfunctional states, persecution and disastrous economies is a humanitarian crisis which requires exceptional measures.

The coalition said Ireland should not differentiate between officially recognised refugees and anyone seeking protection.

Last week plans to increase the intake from 600 to at least 1,800 were announced with Tanaiste Joan Burton later suggesting the final figure should be in the thousands.

In other recommendations the charity coalition also urged the Irish Navy to extend its role in the Mediterranean search and rescue mission beyond the November deadline

It accused the Government of being out of touch with public sentiment and inadequately responding to overwhelmingly support for more refugees to be taken in.

More than 37,000 people have signed a petition to the Taoiseach calling for thousands of refugees to brought to Ireland while thousands of people have also pledged a bed to anyone who arrives in Ireland seeking refuge or asylum.

The coalition called on the Government to show leadership ahead of the European justice meeting on the crisis next Monday.

It also urged a more transparent and accelerated process of relocation and resettlement for refugees with clear guidelines and time frames in place while legal channels of migration to Ireland and across the European Union are expanded through humanitarian visas and less rigid family reunification measures.

The charities also called for the immediate suspension of the return mechanism of the Dublin regulation in Ireland and for decisive actions to provide appropriate reception accommodation in a community setting.

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