Limerick refugee support group calls for end of displacement policy

Doras chief executive John Lannon

LIMERICK refugee and immigrant support group Doras has called for a new agency for refugees and reform of the system, citing their deep concern at repeated examples of one group of refugees displacing another from accommodation.

“While Doras welcomes the decision to allow the 135 Ukrainian women and children to remain in Killarney, this is not the first time that one group of people have been moved to make way for others,” said Doras chief executive John Lannon.

Last May, a Limerick community was shocked by the decision to move a group of Ukrainian refugees from County Limerick to Dublin.

The group of 15, who had fled the war inflicted by Russia on their homeland, had been staying at the Castle Oaks House Hotel in Castleconnell since March. The group was given given just 24 hours notice before being transferred to accommodation in Dublin’s Temple Bar.
Some of the group had secured jobs in Limerick and the children had enrolled in the local school.
Mr Lannon said: “The situation that has arisen is a symptom of an over-reliance on temporary and emergency accommodation for people arriving from Ukraine, as well as asylum seekers”.
“It’s chaotic and points to an urgent need for reform and leadership, including the establishment of a new Refugee Agency.

“We should continue to welcome people who need protection here, but Ireland needs to meet its commitments to beneficiaries of temporary protection, and to international protection applicants. And they all need to be treated with dignity and respect.”

He said that such treatment can be devastating and re-traumatising for people who have established some normality in their lives after escaping from a war zone.

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It’s particularly problematic for children, Lannon says.

Mr Lannon said Doras acknowledges the huge challenge the Department of Children has in finding accommodation for over 50,000 people.

“It was understandable that they would be in crisis response mode when people started to arrive from Ukraine in large numbers.

“But we’re now seven months into the war in Ukraine. We’re coming into the winter and the accommodation situation is not improving. From our support and outreach work, what we’re seeing paints a grim picture.”