LIMERICK-based refugee and migrant rights organisation Doras has issued a special appeal for extra support to cope with what it says is an unprecedented demand from people seeking safety and sanctuary throughout the Mid West.
Despite providing critical services to some of the most vulnerable in the community, the charity, whose patron is President Higgins, remains without core State funding, instead relying on funding from project grants, private philanthropy, and community-based fundraising.
Doras chief executive John Lannon says the war in Ukraine and the resulting plight of refugees coming to Ireland means the organisation has experienced its busiest year in its history.
“Almost 8 million people have fled Ukraine meaning we are living through one of the greatest humanitarian crises in European history. Over 60,000 Ukrainian refugees have come to Ireland, many of them to Limerick and the Mid West region.
“There have been issues of course but, on the whole, the government has responded well, supported by the incredible goodwill of communities throughout Ireland.
“Doras has been to the fore of the response, providing direct support to Ukrainians as well as people from across the world who are seeking sanctuary in Ireland, including people from Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, and elsewhere.”
Mr Lannon said the organisation has “faced unprecedented pressure to support people who often have nowhere else to turn”.
“It’s been our busiest year to date and it looks like the year ahead is going to be very challenging too. This is why we desperately need the people of Limerick to continue their phenomenal efforts to support this work as they have done so generously for over two decades now”.
Mr Lannon says the people Doras supports have generally faced huge challenges before attempting to make a new life in Ireland.
“We’re talking about people who have lost loved ones and who may have narrowly escaped death themselves. Some have endured great violence and suffering and it is humbling to hear their testimonies.
“They may need support with health issues, accommodation, immigration, or translation. Others are victims of racism and hate crimes or human trafficking. This led us to launch a new Migrant Victim Support Project, the first of its kind in Ireland.
“We’ve also launched the SaorEd.com platform to provide free education and training courses to help people advance in the workforce,” explained the Doras CEO.
Appealing for support of Limerick, Mr Lannon noted that “while we get some State support for these projects, it’s generally year by year, which makes it hard to plan. That’s why we continue to rely on people in the community to keep backing Doras and ensure we can keep the lights on while offering these critical supports”.
Those wishing to support Doras can do so online at doras.org, by telephone 061 310 328, or by arranging to visit the Doras office at 51a O’Connell Street, Limerick.