Ireland must show solidarity and leadership in welcoming Afghan refugees
Following the news that Government is set to provide less than 200 places for Afghan refugees, Labour Senator Annie Hoey said Ireland must act as an international leader in welcoming as many Afghan refugees as possible into the country.
Senator Hoey said:
“We are all horrified by the scenes we are watching unfold in Afghanistan over the past number of days. While it may be easy to feel powerless in situations like this, I am calling on the Government to step up to the mark and help these fleeing Afghan people. We must show complete solidarity with our fellow citizens whose lives have been turned upside down almost overnight. We must show leadership in front of our other European neighbours. We must show compassion to people who have been left broken and alone.
“The urgency is clear here. We are witnessing this mass exodus and movement of people who are fleeing the Taliban. While it’s welcome to see Government will speed up the process of assessing visa applications for Afghan family members of Irish citizens and Afghan nationals living in Ireland, this only applies to applications already submitted. This is simply not good enough. We must take a compassionate approach and the Labour Party is calling on Government to ensure that any and all applications of Afghan people are considered speedily.
“We must stand in solidarity with all people and welcome refugees from Afghanistan to Ireland. We must do everything we can to help people seeking protection from this devastation. Ireland has 20 times the GDP of Afghanistan. We have the power to intervene meaningfully to help the many innocent people who are now fleeing the country.
“We also need to challenge misinformed views and myths about refugees in Ireland, and now is the time when political action can have a real impact. While words alone will not protect these people, they can have the effect of pushing political change. As a State, we need not look on in horror and paralysis. Let us welcome and support all Afghan refugees and ensure that no families are separated.”