Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Brendan Smith TD has renewed his call on the Government to work with the UN, our European partners and Irish NGO’s to draw up a detailed plan to secure immediate relief for refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East.
“Ireland’s Overseas Development Aid has supported the most vulnerable in many regions afflicted by famine and war, and Ireland is a long term and valued contributor to the UN World Food Programme. Successive Governments have built upon our contribution to the Programme which has ensured we play a leading role in providing humanitarian assistance internationally” said Deputy Smith.
“At this particular time of major crisis we should ensure that further Irish contributions to this Programme are brought forward to assist with the immediate needs of millions of people in areas of conflict. The focus must be on securing relief for refugees in the short term.
“Accepting additional refugees into Ireland must be a priority, but we must also remember that many refugees are living in appalling and freighting conditions in the Middle East with little chance of travelling to Europe. There are upwards of 4 million Syrian refugees alone in countries neighbouring Syria. Many of these people are living in perilous conditions and need immediate humanitarian assistance.
“In light of this our Government needs to work with the UN, our European partners and Irish NGO’s to not only assist refugees entering the European Union, but also the millions of refugees in countries such as Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq who need immediate humanitarian assistance.
“At the forthcoming EU Foreign Affairs Council Minister Flanagan must give a very strong message that the EU has to put in place an immediate and comprehensive programme of adequate assistance to meet the needs of refugees arriving to Europe. The European Union must demand greater action by the United Nations to help bring about an end to the long running conflicts in Syria and Libya. Such an outcome is needed to bring a resolution to the refugee crisis.”