13 September 2015

Following the Government decision to establish the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, the Government announced that the Irish Red Cross will have an important role in coordinating public offers of accommodation and support for refugees being accepted by Ireland. A hotline and email facility has been established by the Irish Red Cross to accept pledges of accommodation from the public.

In recent weeks a ground swell of public support and offers of assistance has grown in communities across the country in response to refugee crisis in southern and central Europe. Minister Fitzgerald has warmly welcomed the expressions of support from the public including those who have pledged accommodation and other assistance to refugees that will be accepted by Ireland and has been clear in stating that the Government must do all it can to harness the potential of these generous offers. The public response to the crisis once again demonstrates the community and voluntary spirited generosity of the Irish people. This voluntary effort must be let grow and develop in a way that is both sustainable and fully engages individuals, communities, NGO's and religious organisation in responding to the plight of refugees.

To drive forward all of the strands of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme a Task Force has been established and will have its first formal meeting this week. A major issue to be agreed at this meeting will be how best to quickly engage with the generous responses by the broader community and individuals as well as NGO and religious organisations to this humanitarian crisis.

Anyone who wishes to pledge accommodation or other assistance is encouraged to contact the Irish Red Cross on 01-6424600 (1850 50 70 70 for donations) or migrationcrisis@redcross.ie.