Minister O’Gorman Needs To Respect The Community of Borrisokane Following Integration Of Asylum Seekers

22 May 2024

Deputy Kelly said:

“The people of Borrisokane in 2019 went against the grain and welcomed in what turned out to be 96 asylum seekers into their community.

“They did so at a time of high tensions across a number of communities in Ireland where asylum seekers were being placed.

“Public meetings took place and a local liaison committee was formed. The 20 families integrated totally in the community while living in the Riverside Center.

“Many have now got status in Ireland and are told they are being evicted in July. The local community is furious about this.

“27 children are currently in primary school in the town, 10 are in secondary school in the town and 11 have moved on to various third level courses.

“Many of the people who have arrived are now working in local jobs and roles.

“The families are totally involved in the community; Sobello is a coach with the underage soccer team and he also set up the community garden in the local town park where local people can grow their own vegetables; Guillema is a volunteer with the Alone charity while Ase was just recently part of the u13 Borrisokane GAA team that won the North Tipperary championship. The recent African day in the town was a great success.

“Many in the community who had concerns in 2019 are now the very people who are fighting to keep the new residents in the community.

“The issue is that while the families qualify for HAP there is no accommodation locally available to rent and they are left in a very vulnerable situation. They don’t want to move and their children are so upset about the thought of moving and starting afresh.

“Furthermore, it turns out that the Department of Justice in 2019 wrote to the liaison committee saying it saying it would ‘be a very positive and long term outcome of the community’s welcome and support’ if the residents got status in Ireland and qualified for HAP to enable them to ‘continue residing in the Riverside Center’.

“This is a unique situation and Minister O’Gorman needs to honour the commitments made in 2019 to the community of Borrisokane who have always done the right thing.

“He needs to show that a compromise can be found whereby he works with the owners of this property which they have contracts with to allow the residents use HAP to stay in the local community.

“What use is the Government’s word and IPAS’s word if when a community positively engages with them like Borrisokane did and welcomes asylum seekers that they then turn around and totally let them down.

“Minister O’Gorman’s Department has the word ‘Integration’ in its title. It needs to demonstrate its commitment to this role by doing whats right in Borrisokane.”


Deputy Kelly’s contribution during Topical Issues on May 21st:

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