Limerick group says re-think needed on refugee crisis 

Doras chief executive John Lannon

LIMERICK-based national migrant and refugee support organisation Doras says that although it is encouraged by the initial national response to the Ukrainian crisis, it is concerned about the lack of coordination and preparation for what’s to come.

More than 2.8 million refugees have now fled the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. To date, it is estimated that approximately over 5,500 refugees have arrived in Ireland, while government figures suggest that number could rise to 100,000.

Doras CEO John Lannon said: “The activation of the EU Temporary Protection Directive has made a huge difference in terms of removing visa requirements and other obstacles for Ukrainians fleeing the horror of war. War is brutal and traumatic enough without having to navigate red tape.

“What we need now is to expand upon this good work and ensure adequate support is in place at Shannon and Cork airports and at Rosslare. We’ve heard reports of people arriving at these ports of entry and not getting adequate information.

“There are also concerns about the accommodation pipeline. The Irish Red Cross bed pledge initiative is very welcome but may take weeks to become active. There’s also the consideration that 70 per cent of the pledges are for shared accommodation, which won’t always be suitable for people with specific needs, especially when trauma may be a factor.”

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The organisation is concerned that decommissioned direct provision centres will be opened and that this could see that system perpetuated. 

 “Non-profits like ours are stretched beyond our limits. Doras is operating without core funding and urgently needs greater supporters. Community support is vital, but ultimately we need the state to take a more strategic, long-term, and joined-up approach. While the current situation is hugely challenging, it’s also an opportunity for a fundamental rethink,” the CEO said.